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Palace launches FOI Manual, bars media

Presidential Communication Secretary Martin Andanar.
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA - MalacaƱang on Friday afternoon launched the much anticipated Freedom of Information Manual to officials and agency staff of the Executive Department.

But it was a closed-door event as far as media coverage was concerned, the matter being of interest ostensibly only to Executive Department executives and staff and not the general public.

The FOI manual is in line with the implementation of Executive Order (EO) No. 2, which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on July 23.

The public's right to access information is addressed by the EO, but is limited to the Executive Department.

"We have conducted workshops for the agencies of the Executive branch, aiming to ensure that all agencies will be able to institute their own internal procedures on handling the FOI requests," Presidential Communcation Secretary Andanar said earlier.

Andanar also indicated that the processes will be published via the agencies' People's Manual, and will be used as the requestors' guide.

Any Filipino citizen can make an FOI request. Requesting parties are required to present proof of identification. Any government issued ID can serve as a proof of identification.

Requesting parties may ask information on official records, public records, and documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development.

The EO comes with exceptions, patterned after those in the FOI laws of Australia, the United States and other countries, which include such matters as national security; law enforcement documents; documents with secrecy provisions; those exempted by statutes; trade secrets; confidential documents; legal professional privilege; and, personal memos.

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