MMDA bags 'Commitment to Excellence Award' for FOI initiatives

Published November 26, 2021, 1:11 PM

by Joseph Pedrajas

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has been recognized by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) for its “consistent” commitment to excellence in public service by implementing the Freedom of Information (FOI) program.

MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos (Screengrab from Facebook Live)

MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos received the “Commitment to Excellence Award” under the agency category for being an “FOI Champion Hall of Famer” during the FOI Awards’ ceremony in Cebu City on Thursday, Nov. 26.

“This award is a testimony to the MMDA’s commitment to uphold the people’s constitutionally-mandated right to information, providing them with timely, accurate and relevant information,” Abalos said in his acceptance speech.

According to Abalos, FOI is “the truest form of public service, with the government performing in accordance to the people’s will.”

“Through the FOI, we give people not just their fundamental rights but also the power which enables them to take part in nation-building. The FOI also provides the government a channel through which it exercises its responsibility to the people of being transparent and accountable,” he said.

Abalos shared how giving the public an easy access to information proved to be critical amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We have shared vital statistics and information on vaccination rollout in NCR [National Capital Region] as well as policies implemented to further decrease the risk of virus transmission. These are all contributory to the NCR reaching the 93 percent inoculation rate, the very first region to have achieved such milestone since the COVID-19 vaccination started,” he added.

Abalos also lauded the MMDA’s FOI Committee for their “relentless efforts” in ensuring the successful implementation of the FOI program.

MMDA is the first government agency to be awarded as a “top performing and requested agency” for four consecutive years.

The FOI Awards is an annual event which aims to recognize the remarkable contributions of government offices in the executive branch, including government-owned and controlled corporations, state universities and colleges and local water districts, to the development and progress of the PCOO’s FOI program.

PCOO is the lead agency in the implementation of President Duterte’s Executive Order No. 2 which operationalizes the Constitutional mandate of the people’s right to information.