DAVAO CITY— Two days before his first State of the Nation Address, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed the executive order on the Freedom of Information (FOI) here on Saturday night, July 23.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) secretary Martin Andanar announced the executive order description as “Operationalizing in the executive branch the people’s constitutional right to information and the state policies of full public disclosure and transparency in the public service and providing guidelines therefore” at the Royal Mandaya Hotel on Sunday morning, July 24.
He said the President signed the EO 7:00 pm on Saturday.
He said agencies having any information that may put the government in danger in terms of national security are to be exempted.
Andanar said that the FOI executive order which allows full public disclosure of all state transactions involving public interest, subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law, seeks to attain a more transparent government, adding that there was “no plan” on having it signed on Saturday.
“It just so happened that the executive order was finalized Saturday night when the chief presidential legal counsel Secretary Panelo, Secretary Medialdea [and] Undersecretary Boy Quitain had finally agreed to this final draft,” Andanar said.
He added that for the last 29 years since late Congressman Raul Roco filed the FOI, Filipinos have fought “tooth and nail” to strengthen the right to information as inscribed in the 1987 constitution.
He said that in only after 25 days of Duterte’s presidency, he considers the signing of the executive order as a “record-breaking” milestone.
Andanar added that there will be a FOI manual which every agency will own and can also be downloaded online. “Yung manual na ‘yon, ‘yon ay maging batayan ng ating mga kababayan at ng mga ahensiya ng ating gobyerno para sa pagpapatupad nitong freedom of information executive order (The manual will be a basis of the people and government agencies in carrying out the freedom of information executive order),” he said.
Since the executive order has just been signed, Andanar said the copy with the stamp and seal will be released officially on Monday.