One of the biggest tools that transparency advocates have been campaigning for is coming, at least according to their current Communications Secretary Martin Andanar. In a Twitter exchange where he was asked about the status of the executive order for the Freedom Of Information act, which would compel government executives to respond to queries of Filipino citizens about government activities, including budgets for projects, the current comms secretary said that it’s coming “very very soon”.
very very soon
— Martin Andanar (@martinandanar) July 2, 2016
Many sectors have been campaigning hard for the Freedom of Information bill to become law, as it aids in imparting transparency to government by compelling government agencies and executives to respond to requests by regular Filipinos for information about almost anything – from budgets of projects to SALNs of government officials. As long as the information isn’t classified or is vital to the defense of the country, it can be requested by anybody who is a Filipino citizen.
President Duterte has made pushing the FOI bill into law during the campaign period, and earlier promised to issue an EO on the FOI during his first days in office. “Kung ayaw ng Congress I will start progressively. Para walang satsat, walang yakyak, day one, basta pataas na, huwag na pabalik kasi magulo yan,” he earlier promised voters.
Granted the EO isn’t as good as the law and only members of the executive branch of the government will be covered by it, but for many who are looking for transparency in the government it is a God send. Here’s to hoping that President Duterte follows through with the EO.