MANILA — The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) on Monday held the first Freedom of Information (FOI) Awards Ceremony at the historic Rizal Park Hotel in Manila.
The awarding ceremony aims to recognize the significant contributions of government departments and attached agencies, including government-owned and/or-controlled corporations (GOCCs), state universities and colleges (SUCs), and local government units (LGUs), to the development and progress of the FOI program.
“Sa araw na ito ipinagmamalaki po namin na ito na ang mga natupad ng aming opisina at ng FOI team, kasama na rin ng ating mga partner-agencies at partner-organizations,” PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar said in his speech.
The PCOO, the lead agency in FOI implementation in the Executive Branch, initiated the search for FOI champions, where it conducted a thorough nomination and screening process which started last October to identify the awardees.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) emerged as the champion in the department category of the executive FOI program a year after its implementation nationwide.
As for the agency category, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) was proclaimed as the winner.
Other FOI awardees were the National Housing Authority (NHA) for the GOCC category and University of the Philippines (UP) for the SUC.
“These milestones make us proud, and we celebrate these triumphs,” the PCOO chief added.
Meanwhile, Secretary Andanar reported that 96 percent or 181 national government agencies complied on the submission of FOI manuals. Also, there were 69 government-owned and/or-controlled corporations (GOCCs) and 26 state universities and colleges (SUCs) made their submissions.
Top agencies with the highest FOI requests, on the other hand, were the PSA which had 420 requests, followed by the Department of Health (DOH) with 220, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) with 173, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) with 153, and the PCOO with 101 requests.
The FOI Awards Ceremony was live streamed on the Presidential Communications Facebook page.
Guests who graced the event included Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
Other speakers in the event were Executive Secretary Salvador Meldialdea, House of Representatives Public Information Chair Congresswoman Bernadette Herrera-Dy, and FOI Program Director and PCOO Assistant Secretary Kristian Ablan.