CHR: FOI promotes open, participatory government

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said Freedom of Information (FOI) has contributed to the “promotion of an open and participatory government” and has welcomed the recommendation of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) to the incoming administration to retain the FOI policy.

Citing the Section 7 Article III 3 of the Philippine constitution, CHR executive director, lawyer Jacqueline Ann de Guia, noted that “right to information” allows the citizens to access “official records, documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used as a basis for policy development” on all subjects and issues of public concern.”

Despite the existing constitutional guarantee, de Guia noted and emphasized, however, that there is a lack of enabling legislation to exercise this right. For this reason, she said CHR has joined the PCOO in endorsing the continuation of the observance of the policy to the next Administration.

De Guia said freedom of information “is imperative in the fulfillment of consonant rights” such as the freedom of speech, expression, and the press.

“CHR reminds our leaders that public trust is the cornerstone of our democracy,” she said as she urged the next administration to continue crafting measures that will push transparency and good governance.