Andanar’s office designated to oversee FOI implementation

MANILA – The Presidential Communication Office (PCO) headed by Secretary Martin Andanar has been designated to oversee the implementation of the Freedom of Information (FOI) program in the executive branch.

The designation was made through Memorandum Order No. 10 signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea last December 29.

“There is a need to continuously monitor the implementation of Executive Order No. 2 across all government agencies in the Executive Branch,” MO No. 10 read.

“The designation of a lead agency shall ensure the successful implementation of the FOI program,” it added.

Under the memorandum order, all departments, agencies, bureaus, offices or instrumentalities of the government including government-owned and –controlled corporations are directed to render full assistance and cooperation to the PCO.

As lead agency, the PCO shall oversee implementation of all FOI and electronic or e-FOI programs for all government agencies in the executive branch and monitor compliance therewith.

The PCO shall also develop programs and mechanisms to enhance the capacity of government agencies to comply with FOI programs, and conduct and facilitate the necessary capacity and institutional building programs for all concerned government agencies and instrumentalities.

In November last year, Malacanang launched the FOI and e-FOI programs in a bid to boost the anti-corruption campaign of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Living up to his promise to fight corruption, President Duterte signed EO No. 2 right in the first month of his presidency in July last year.

The FOI for executive branch has nine exceptions. These include:

— 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 or 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; and

— Other exceptions to the right to information under laws, jurisprudence, rules and regulations.