Six (6) years after the landmark signing of Executive Order No. (EO) 2, s. 2016, the Philippines is presented anew with an opportunity to set the direction and regain momentum towards advancing the freedom of information (FOI) advocacy in the country.
Having transitioned to a new Administration under President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr., the FOI Program Management Office (FOI PMO) now operates under the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) by virtue of EO 2, s. 2022 with a resounding mandate of championing access to information in a much larger and progressive development communication mechanism.
In this regard, FOI PMO’s new thrust of fostering informed, connected, and empowered citizens is now anchored on PIA’s integral role, as the country’s chief information arm, in bringing information closer to the people. This dynamic shall pave the way to further escalate transparency, increase accountability, and deepen citizen participation by means of building on what has already been set forth over the years through the FOI Program in pursuit of greater and freer access to public information.
As the Philippine Government enters a new era of governance, the FOI regime is likewise set to sustain its initiatives and upscale its trajectory. Thus, with the theme “Championing Access to Information Towards a Connected, Empowered, and Inclusive Nation”, the FOI-PMO will hold the FOI Summit and Awards Week on 21-25 November 2022 via Zoom Teleconference and Facebook Live.
Held every year, the 2022 FOI Summit is the largest annual meeting of FOI officers and FOI champions, including transparency and open government advocates from across the country and abroad to create opportunities for dialogue and participation; identify pathways, actions, levers and leverage points; promote innovation; and, build and sustain stronger communities of practice in the field of data and information access, sharing, and disclosure. It will also provide community-driven discussions and critical reflections on how we might further connect and empower the public through information.
The Summit is expected to be attended by virtual participants from the national and local government, representatives from civil society organizations, private/business sector, academe, media, including local and international development partners, and other partners of the FOI PMO.
Meanwhile, the 2022 FOI Awards, which is an annual gathering of leading FOI practitioners and FOI Champions from the government and non-government sector, aims to recognize the significant contribution of key actors and organizations in the overall progress and development of the FOI Program.
To officially kick off the Summit Week, three (3) mini webinar series will be held from 21-23 November 2022 to shed light on the core engagements of FOI-PMO for and with its multi-sectoral partners and stakeholders.
21 November: Embracing Innovation in Access to Information >>> WATCH IT HERE
This session will focus on the vital contribution and impact of AI innovations and data science in implementing and promoting access to information in the Philippines. As a vital milestone for the FOI Practice, discussions will revolve on the notable improvements on facilitating electronic requests through the significant developments of AI-based recommender system in the electronic FOI (eFOI) Portal which improves the identification of appropriate government offices.
22 November: Promoting Inclusivity through Access to Information >>> WATCH IT HERE
The FOI Practice strives to promote social inclusion across varied sectors. Through its institutional activities such as FOI Bridging Program and #InfoDataquest, FOI Philippines has engaged with multi-sectoral groups from the urban sector, Persons with Disabilities, Persons Deprived of Liberty, Women, Youth, Academe, Media and the general stakeholders in streamlining access to information and promoting their right to government information. As FOI advocates and champions, this session will highlight the significant impact of FOI to the concerned sectors in advancing their advocacy agenda and will delve on their experience in championing FOI in their respective sectors.
23 November: Enhancing the Enabling Policies of Access to Information >>> WATCH IT HERE
The FOI Philippines implements enabling policies for the improvement of efficient access to information mechanisms in the country. Two of these policies such as the FOI Memorandum Circular No. 4, s. 2019 or the Guidelines on Redaction and Extraction of Information before disclosure to the public and the FOI Memorandum Circular No. 21-05 - or the “No Wrong Door Policy” provide for an avenue to enable proper disclosure and usage of information of FOI implementers and users. This session will stir the discussion on the assessment of the above said policies drawn from the first hand experience of select FOI Receiving Officers (implementer) and one of the CSO Partners of the FOI-PMO the Makati Business Club (MBC) (user).