PCOO hopes FOI OK next year

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With the Duterte administration nearly its halfway mark, the government’s communications arm expressed hope that the long-mooted Freedom of Information (FOI) Law will be passed next year.

According to Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Kris Ablan, the agency is keeping its fingers crossed that the passage of the measure would finally be realized.

“We would like to hit the ground running, hopefully, we get an FOI Law this time next year,” Ablan, who is also the Director of the FOI-Program Management Office (PMO) said in the FOI midyear conference yesterday.

He added that there has been a 100 percent FOI compliance from national government offices for the first half of 2019.

Ablan likewise asserted that more than 90 percent of government-owned and controlled corporations are now FOI compliant, while there is 94 percent conformity from state-run universities and colleges, and 41 percent for local water districts.

The official also then bared that the Executive Branch is set to forward the updated FOI bill once the 18th Congress formally opens next month.

The updated draft, according to Ablan, added a provision on a “no wrong door policy” which compels the receiving agency to assist and endorse the FOI user to appropriate offices or division that could cater to his request.

This would lessen the denial of requests or delays in issuing requested documents.

“Upon consolidation of the inputs gathered from the civil society organizations, non-government organizations and non-government actors, the FOI-PMO, in July 2019, will endorse the Draft FOI Bill to the 18th Congress,” stated Ablan.

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