President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an executive order (EO) on Freedom of Information, Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar announced Sunday morning.
All government offices under the executive branch should enable every Filipino access to information, official records, and other public documents. By "executive branch," it means the national government and all its offices, departments, bureaus, offices, and instrumentalities, including government-owned or -controlled corporations, as well as state universities and colleges.
Local government units are also encouraged to observe and be guided by the order.
All Filipinos should have access to information, official records, public records and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for public-development.
How does it work?
Any person who requests information only needs to write to the duly authorized personnel assigned by the head of the government agency. The head of the agency shall review the letter, and if there are no issues about the request, then the person assigned should come up with the information within 15 days.
How much does it cost?
Requests for access to information are free of charge. However, the agency concerned may require the person who made the request to reimburse necessary costs, such as money spent for the reproduction and copying of the information requested.
What else should be out in the open?
Public officials are mandated to make available their statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth for public scrutiny.
Who answers our questions?
Any question on the legality of the information requested will be forwarded to the Department of Justice and the Office of the Solicitor General to ensure it does not violate any laws.
What happens to violators?
Any public official who fails to release the information upon compliance of the requestor will face administrative and disciplinary sanctions under existing laws or regulations.
However, access to information can be denied when the data falls under any of the exemptions enshrined in the Constitution, existing laws, or jurisprudence. This includes information that may threaten national security.
As such, the Department of Justice and the Office of the Solicitor General have been tasked to submit an inventory of exemptions to the Office of the President within 30 calendar days. They are likewise also tasked to update the list of exemptions when the need arises in accordance with existing law and jurisprudence.
HERE'S A SCREENSHOT OF THE EXECUTIVE ORDER. (credits to abs-cbn)