President Rodrigo Duterte has said he is ready to sign an Executive Order (EO) that will implement the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill for the executive department.
In pre-recorded announcement in Malacanang, Duterte added that he has “decided to hurry it up,” so that the bill could be implemented next week.
“This was just submitted to me after the Cabinet meeting today and I have to review it personally,” Duterte said on Thursday.
The order on the FOI bill, according to him, would make operational “the people’s constitutional right to information and… public disclosure and transparency in public service in providing guidelines.”
Duterte, however, clarified that the Executive Order would be limited only to the executive department.
“I would like to remind everybody that I can only mind the executive department, my branch of government. I cannot mind the two [others], the judiciary and Congress because of the separation of powers,” he said.
“It is up to Congress, also if they want, they can file, maybe come up with a copy of freedom of information law. This is just an Executive Order,” Duterte added.
After winning the presidential elections in May, he said he will issue an Executive Order on the FOI bill, seen as an important legislation that would bring about greater accountability, transparency and citizen participation in governance.
CATHERINE S. VALENTE