BAGUIO CITY, Feb. 21 (PIA) - - The national government through the Presidential Communications and Operations Office (PCOO) encouraged local chief executives to support the good governance initiative of President Rodrigo Duterte through localized Freedom of Information (FOI).
Leading the FOI Conference for Luzon Local Government Units at Orchard Hotel here Friday, PCOO Assistant Secretary Kristian Ablan stressed the important role of LGUs for a whole of government approach in the implementation of the FOI program since citizens should have access to government information not only in the national level government but in the whole government organization.
"We proactively urge you to pass local ordinance on FOI to localize FOI implementation and ensure that access to government information would reach even the most remote communities," said Ablan who is the FOI Program Director.
Pres. Duterte signed on July 23, 2016 Executive Order No. 02 or the FOI program in the country that requires all executive departments, agencies, bureaus, and offices to disclose public records, contracts, transactions, and any information requested by a member of the public, except for matters affecting national security and other information that falls under the inventory of exceptions.
"You, as FOI advocates, will be the catalyst to finally operationalize the constitutional provisions - a right guaranteed by the highest law of the land - to provide the citizenry access to government information. And in the process, you are not only FOI advocates but a cornerstone of democracy," he added.
PCOO ASEC Ana Maria Paz Rafael, in her message, outlined that FOI will strengthen the citizenry's thrust in the government, will provide better understanding of the government policies, programs and services and at the same time will help in the empowerment of local government units.
Legaspi City Mayor Noel Rosal and La Union Province Legal Officer Dominique Jose Puzon shared their respective LGU's experiences in the panel discussion on LGUs Best Practices on FOI moderated by Rafael.
Other learning sessions include the Enhanced Full Disclosure Policy and the DILG DevLIVE by the Department of Interior and Local Governmen; Project DIME of the Department of Budget and Management, and increasing the transparency at the local level through the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index by the Department of Trade and Industry. (JDP/CCD-PIA CAR)