PCOO not giving up on FOI enactment under Duterte

Published September 25, 2021, 7:27 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar believes that the Duterte administration’s fight against corruption in government will end on a positive note.

PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar (Photo from PCOO Facebook page)


This, as the agency continues to prod Congress for the enactment of a proper Freedom of Information (FOI) program through pending bills filed in the legislature.

“Our campaign against corruption will end right away, because for example this Freedom of Information is not yet a law. It is not being passed by the Congress yet,” Andanar said in an interview Saturday, Sept. 25.

The PCOO requested the inclusion of an FOI law as part of the President Duterte’s legislative agenda for the year 2020.

“Whether the next administration will continue to promote this [FOI] or not, us under the Duterte administration believe that this is one of the greatest solutions to get rid of corruption,” Andanar said. Duterte will step down from Malacañang on June 30, 2022.

It was July 23, 2016 when the Chief Executive signed the landmark Executive Order No. 2, s. 2016 (EO 2) or the FOI Program, which opened the books of the offices under the executive branch. Duterte was barely a month in office when he did this.

At that time, the move seemed like a response to the previous Aquino administration’s failure to enact an FOI law, depsite repeated attempts by lawmakers.

An FOi law–which has yet to come to fruition under the current administration–will have more weight than the existing EO 2 in terms of implementability and significance.

The PCOO was designated to lead the operationalization of EO 2. It aims to promote transparency, accountability, and citizen participation by requiring government agencies to disclose information about their transactions that involve public interest.

In terms of the anti-corruption drive of the government, such a policy is being complemented by the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) and the Republic Act (RA) 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business Act.

Andanar highlighted how RA 11032 strengthened the anti-red tape campaign in government. He said this helped advance the Philippines to the 95th spot from 124th place out of 190 economies in the World Bank’s “Doing Business 2020” report.

For the past few weeks, the Duterte administration has been hounded by allegations of corruption, particularly those highlighted by the Senate’s investigation of the government’s procurement of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) supplies last year.

 
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