The Duterte administration is hopeful the Freedom of Information bill will be passed in 2020, the Presidential Communications Operations Office said Wednesday.
“We would like to hit the ground running, and hopefully we get an FOI Law this time next year,” PCOO Assistant Secretary Kristian Ablan said.
He reported a 100-percent FOI compliance from the national government agencies for the first half of the year.
He said 92 percent of government-owned-and-controlled corporations were FOI compliant, about 94 percent of state universities and colleges were compliant, and 41 percent of local water districts were compliant.
In July 2019, he said, the executive branch will submit its updated draft FOI bill to Congress.
“Upon consolidation of the inputs gathered from the civil society organizations, NGOs and NGAs (non-government actors), the FOI-PMO, in July 2019, will endorse the Draft FOI Bill to the 18th Congress,” Ablan said.
He said the FOI-PMO added a provision on a “no wrong door policy” that compels the receiving agency to assist and guide the FOI user to appropriate offices or division that could cater to his request.
Through this, Ablan said, the denial of requests could be lessened.
As of May 2019, the FOI-PMO received at least 13,401 electronic FOI requests. Of that number, 42 percent or 5,576 requests were successful while 33 percent or 4,479 were denied or unsuccessful. The remaining 25 percent were still pending/processing.
“The 42 percent is a big increase from 30 percent last year. Our goal is to breach the 50-percent mark that the majority of the requests is successful,” Ablan said.
The FOI program is a government mechanism that allows Filipino citizens to request any information about government transactions. This was enabled via Executive Order 2, series of 2016, that was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte.