FOI can help in dismissing false information says PCOO official
QUEZON CITY, June 29 (PIA) — Are you one of those overwhelmed by the sheer number of information about government that you received and having difficulty filtering the fake ones and not?
The Freedom of Information can help you navigate through these information, an official of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) said as he urges Filipinos to use this platform to check if there is ‘over information’ or misinformation.
“Years ago, our problem is lack of information. In today’s generation, with the overwhelming number of information that people now receive, it is now a challenge to navigate through them, and find out which ones are fake, which ones are not. That is where Freedom of Information comes in,” said Assistant Secretary Kris Ablan, Project Director of the Freedom of Information during the 8th Leading Forward Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), Friday, June 26.
According to Asec Ablan, FOI is based on the constitutional provision in Section 7 article III, of the 1987 Constitution. Currently, every citizen can exercise his or her right to ask information from government as President Duterte signed the Executive Order (EO) no. 2, series of 2016, on July 2016, operationalizing the FOI in the executive branch.
“FOI, means quite simply, ang mga kababayan natin, whether rich or poor, kung anumang gender, kapag nagtanong sila ng information mula sa government, it has to answer,” Ablan said.
Information considered as public and official, as a general rule, may be requested using FOI. Most of these are copies of laws, office orders, Presidential decrees, even data sets, statistics, audio visual recordings, among others, Asec Ablan said.
There are, however, a number of exceptions with the information that people can request. As FOI also adheres to the Data Privacy Act, information such as addresses and phone numbers are not allowed to be disseminated, because it can be used to commit identity theft, Asec Ablan said.
Another exception is information that may harm our national security, such as locations of our soldiers, “disclosure of such information may lead to endangerment of our soldiers, and policemen,” Asec. Ablan added.
Other exceptions are information covered by national privilege, law enforcement and protection of public and personal safety, confidential information by reason of official capacity, prejudicial premature disclosure, records of proceedings, confidential information under banking and finance laws, other exceptions under laws, jurisprudence, and IRR.
Requesting information from government agencies is free, however agencies can impose reasonable fees for photocopying and printing, as well as for sending the information, thus he advised requesting for digital copies.
The only requirements for filing a request is any government-issued ID, or if the one asking for information is a minor they can use their school IDs,.
“Government agencies were instructed to accept school IDs as proper identification,” Asec. Ablan said.
There are two ways to ask for information, one is asking directly online from more than 480 government agencies and the other is submitting the request through the nearest agency where one lives
According to Ablan, agencies responds within 15 working days, but he said that for the past two years, response time has improved with an average of seven days.
For more information anyone can visit https://www.foi.gov.ph/ (VQR/PIA-IDPD)