MALACAÑANG will issue separate orders implementing freedom of information (FOI) and establishing a “superbody” that will deal with media killings, before President Rodrigo Duterte’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA) later this month.
Palace Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said President Duterte’s legal team was “fine-tuning” both orders, with the executive order (EO) mandating transparency in government transactions through FOI expected to be released as early as this week, likely on Wednesday.
“It is safe to assume that we can have it signed by the President this week or next week,” Andanar said of the FOI EO on Sunday.
He noted that the FOI was one of Duterte’s election promises, and would be a tool to implement the President’s campaign against graft and corruption.
“The best days are yet to come,” the Palace official said in an interview over state-run Radyo ng Bayan.
Andanar added that he reminded the President about the FOI during ceremonies for the assumption to office of the new Philippine National Police chief, Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa, last Friday.
The “Task Force on Media Killings” will be formed through an administrative order, he said.
Both orders, according to Andanar, were being prepared jointly by his office and the office of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
“It will be one of his more important announcements during the SONA. Let’s hope,” he told The Manila Times in an interview.
The new superbody, Andanar said, would be Duterte’s response to the pressing problem of journalist killings, which has placed the Philippines on the list of the most dangerous countries for members of the press.
“The killings must stop. The task force on media killings will be mandated to do this,” he added.
“My office and I as secretary am pushing for it,” Andanar, a broadcast journalist prior to his appointment to the Duterte administration, said.