President Rodrigo Duterte officially signed the Executive Order on the Freedom of Information on Saturday, July 23, 7:00 p.m., according to Information Secretary Martin Andanar.
The provisions of the order includes any record data, such as documents, minutes, contracts, and the like. It covers al the offices under the executive branch, including the national government, government-owned and controlled organizations, and state universities.
The EO states that every Filipino shall have access to information, official records, public records, documents to official government transactions as well as research data.
“Abangan nyo po, asahan nyo po na yung mga impormasyon tulad ng kontrata kung saan napupunta yung pondo ng bayan,” Andanar said. (Translation: Please expect that information such as contracts involving the use of public funds will be made available.) CNN Philippines reported.
Andanar said that with FOI, the release of the requested information should not take more than 15 days, but if there are legal questions on the information requested, it shall be forwarded to the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) or the Department of Justice (DOJ) for interpretation.
“If the duly assigned officer whose job is to release information still does not release it then that person should face administrative cases.” Andanar said.
The OSG and DOJ were directed to submit inventory of exceptions to the office of the president in 30 days.
Andanar answered the question as to why the president signed the EO a day before his first State of the Nation Address, he said, “there’s no such thing as timing of signing it.”
“It just so happened that the executive order was finalized Saturday night,” he added.