Duterte signs EO on FOI; look at what it contains

Two days before he is set to give his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), in the evening of July 23, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the executive order to impose the freedom of information (FOI) in the executive branch at the Marco Polo Hotel in Davao City.


Communications Secretary Martin Andanar announced the signing on Sunday, July 24, during a press conference in Davao City and noted it as a “record-breaking speed of a cornerstone or milestone,” considering how Duterte has only been in office for 23 days.

The EO states that “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 public document.”

And just like with many things, the EO also has an exception – the public will be denied access to information such as those stated as exceptions in the 1987 Constitution.

How to request for the information that you need? Just submit a written request to the government office where you want to get your information from, complete with your proof of identity, specifics of the information that you need, and the purpose of your request.

The official Twitter account of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) also released graphics explaining what the FOI is and how the Filipinos can use it.


And you don’t need to worry about fees because information is available for free, except for the cost of reproducing or copying the information.

Those who refuse to follow the EO will be sanctioned.

Within 30 days upon the signing of the EO, the Department of Justice as well as the Office of the Solicitor General will produce the list of exceptions to the said EO.

According to Andanar, the EO covers the government offices in the executive branch, government-owned or controlled corporations, and state universities and colleges.

According to a GMA News Online report, Duterte announced a day after the May 9 elections, which showed him with a huge lead over other presidential candidates, that his first act as President would be to sign an EO implementing the FOI. And he kept his promise, although it wasn’t exactly his first act. Duterte’s first EO was actually to restructure the Office of the President.

Full copy of the EO on FOI

The Philippine Daily Inquirer has close-up photos of each page of Duterte’s FOI order here.


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