Institutions running FOI program must be independent: group

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 08 2022 12:25 PM

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MANILA – Institutions running the government’s freedom of information (FOI) program should be independent, transparency advocates group Right to Know, Right Now Coalition said.

This comes after President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. placed the program directly under his supervision Thursday.

“That’s always been the position of the Right to Know, Right Now coalition that, you know, any agency that is running the FOI program or is tasked to ensure that there is access of information and transparency should be independent,” said the group’s convenor Atty. Eirene Aguila.

“However, again, we’ll need to do that by virtue of a law because we don’t have that yet,” she added.

Aguila now hopes that the passage of the FOI bill will be fast-tracked.

“Hopefully because the president is now overseeing it, we’ll probably get a stronger signal to the legislative branch to fast-track the passage of the freedom of information.”

She also said she hopes Marcos will carry on, if not expand, the FOI initiatives started by the previous administration.

The FOI Program - which was operationalized during the first year of then President Rodrigo Duterte - “allows Filipino citizens to request any information about government transactions and operations” as long as it does not “put into jeopardy privacy and matters of national security.”

--ANC, 8 July 2022