Campaign on freedom of information, transparency continues amid pandemic

BALER, Aurora — Government initiatives to advocate for freedom of information and transparency continue amid the ongoing pandemic brought about by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Freedom of Information (FOI) Executive Director and Presidential Communications Operations Office Assistant Secretary Kris Ablan said that as part of the celebration of Youth Month this August, his office has been invited by different youth organizations in their virtual conferences to talk about transparency and fighting disinformation.

“In our talks during these digital and virtual conferences, we stress the value of information and media literacy to combat fake news and disinformation, especially during this time of pandemic,” Ablan said.

Through the FOI campaign, he added that the government also aims to explain the FOI as an important transparency initiative of the government to maintain openness and accountability of government agencies and state workers.

Ablan also said that part of their initiatives is to discuss FOI and data privacy as interconnected rights and how to fully implement these in higher education institutions.

Aside from advocating it among the youth sector, the assistant secretary cited the need to introduce the concept of FOI to different sectors to guide them in managing information. 

“Institutionalizing FOI takes a great deal of behavioral change across different sectors of our society. Overtime, we want to imbibe the culture of asking and providing information through freedom of information,” Ablan said.

Meanwhile, he asked the local government units to localize the implementation of FOI in their respective areas through the enactment of ordinances. 

“Through their [LGUs] respective FOI ordinances, the right of their citizens to be provided with information and public records from the government is guaranteed. This has further strengthened the transparency and accountability of local governments to their citizens,” Ablan said. 

In closing, he urged the public to continue supporting the government’s programs on FOI to further understand and expand their knowledge on the different programs and activities of the government.