School, health records included in Palace's new list of FOI exceptions

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 23 2023 12:05 PM | Updated as of Mar 23 2023 12:45 PM

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. delivers his inaugural address at the National Museum in Manila on June 30, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. delivers his inaugural address at the National Museum in Manila on June 30, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) — Malacañang has included more exceptions under a 2016 executive order that guarantees the public’s right to access of information from agencies under the executive branch, including school and health records of certain individuals.

Under the Office of the President’s Memoranum Circular No. 15, signed on March 17, 2023, the following are listed as “exceptions to the right to access of information”:
- information covered by Executive privilege
- Privileged information relating to national security, defense or international relations
- Information concerning law enforcement and protection of public and personal safety
- Information deemed confidential for the protection of the privacy of persons and certain individuals such as minors, victims of crimes, or the accused
- Information, documents or records known by reason of official capacity and are deemed as confidential, including those submitted or disclosed by entities to government agencies, tribunals, boards, or officers, in relation to the performance of their functions, or to inquiries or investigation conducted by them in the exercise of their administrative, regulatory or quasi-judicial powers
- Prejudicial premature disclosure
- Records of proceedings or information from proceedings which, pursuant to law or relevant rules and regulations, are treated as confidential or privileged
- Matters considered confidential under banking and finance laws, and their amendatory laws
- Other exceptions to the right to information under laws, jurisprudence, rules and regulations


The memorandum classified “birth records, school records or medical or personal information” as “information of personal nature where disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy” of certain individuals such as “minors, victims of crimes or the accused.”

It is unclear if the stipulation also covers government officials who identify themselves as victims of crimes or are accused of a misdeed.

But the document underscored that “personal information may be disclosed to the extent that the requested information is shown to be a matter of public concern or interest” and “shall not meddle with or disturb the private life or family relations of the individual.”

The 2016 EO “directs the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to update the Inventory of Exceptions as the need to do so arises and the OP to accordingly circularize the same,” the OP said in its memorandum.

“The foregoing list of exceptions shall be without prejudice to existing laws, jurisprudence, rules or regulations authorizing the disclosure of the excepted information upon satisfaction of certain conditions in certain cases, such as the consent of the concerned party or as may be ordered by the courts,” it read.

“In evaluating requests for information, all heads of offices are enjoined to ensure the meaningful exercise of the public of their right to access to information on public concerns,” it added.

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