HRC Hopes Freedom of Information Policy Will Be Maintained by Incoming Administration – Manila Bulletin

Human Rights Commission (CHR)

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has welcomed the recommendation made to the new administration to uphold President Duterte’s Executive Order No. 2 on freedom of information (FOI) policy.

CHR’s executive director, Jacqueline Ann de Guia, said freedom of information is “imperative” in realizing citizens’ rights.

Maintaining freedom of information has been recommended by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).

Undersecretary Kristian R. Ablan, the acting president’s deputy spokesman, said in an interview that he wants the next administration to continue the freedom of information program, which acts as a transparency mechanism for the executive power.

The Presidential Communications Group (PCG) – which is made up of agencies such as the Philippine News Agency, Philippine News Agency, Radio Philippines Network, People’s Television Network and Bureau Communications Office, among others – has already prepared its transition report for the new civil servants for approval.

While Section 7, Article III of the Constitution states that citizens may have access to “official records, as well as records and records relating to official acts, transactions or decisions, as well as government research data used as basis for policy-making” on all matters and issues of public interest, the CHR lamented the lack of legislation to exercise this right.

“The Commission joins the PCOO in endorsing this policy for the next administration. Freedom of information, as a demonstration of modern democracy, is imperative in realizing consonant rights – freedom of speech, expression and the press,” said De Guia, a lawyer.

“The CHR reminds our leaders that public trust is the cornerstone of our democracy,” she said.

“We look forward to the continued development of measures that enhance government transparency. A push in this direction corresponds directly to the fight against corruption and the promotion of public accountability,” she said.