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Duterte creates FOI exception policy body.

Duterte creates FOI exception policy body !-- -- Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - October 18, 2018 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines President Duterte has issued a memorandum order creating an inter-agency freedom of information (FOI) exceptions policy committee about two years after he signed Executive Order (EO) No. 2 mandating full public disclosure for government offices.

Memorandum Circular No. 49 was released by the Palace on Oct.

1 or after the public asked about the President's true state of health after he underwent medical procedures ndash colonoscopy and endoscopy ndash in relation to his Barrett's disease. Signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea in behalf of the President, the memorandum is effective immediately.

Duterte and his former spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said the public may only be informed fully about the President's health once he is classified as "seriously ill.

" Under the memorandum, the inter-agency committee is tasked to review the inventory of exceptions under the EO on FOI and "periodically update the list of exceptions to properly reflect any change in existing laws and jurisprudence." The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) are designated as "chairpersons" while members include the Presidential Communications Operations Office, Office of the Government Corporate Counsel and the National Privacy Commission.

Members of the committee should be "senior officials, each with a rank not lower than assistant secretary or its equivalent," the order read. "Further, member-agencies shall designate an alternate representative with the same qualifications," it added.

Duterte also directed all departments, agencies, bureaus and offices or instrumentalities of the government, including government-owned and controlled corporations, to render full assistance and cooperation to the inter-agency unit. Under EO 2,Duterte underscored Section 28, Article 2 of the 1987 Constitution ndash wherein the state adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest.

In operationalizing the public's right to information and the creation of the mechanisms for FOI implementation, Duterte also enjoined all government offices under the executive branch to cooperate in the FOI implementation. "Every Filipino shall 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 policy development," the EO said.

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Publication:Philippines Star (Manila, Philippines)
Date:Oct 17, 2018
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