PCOO exec hopes next secretary will continue FOI

“We will endorse several programs to the new secretary that we hope will be continued, top of which is the Freedom of Information, a mechanism and tool for transparency,” Ablan said in an interview with radio station dzBB.
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MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Undersecretary Kris Ablan urged yesterday the incoming secretary of the agency to continue the Duterte administration’s Freedom of Information (FOI) policy.

“We will endorse several programs to the new secretary that we hope will be continued, top of which is the Freedom of Information, a mechanism and tool for transparency,” Ablan said in an interview with radio station dzBB.

President Duterte signed Executive Order 2 in July 2016, allowing public access to official documents and transactions in all departments and offices under the executive branch.

Ablan said the PCOO has processed around 150,000 FOI requests in the past six years.

The official also hopes the incoming PCOO secretary would retain state-run media facilities including the Mindanao Media Hub in Davao City, Visayas Media Hub in Cebu, and the Government Communications Academy in Bukidnon.

He said the Government Communications Academy in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon aims to provide training and capacity-building to information officers in rural areas.

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Ablan also said 140 contractual employees of the PCOO who work as media content creators may lose their jobs by the end of Duterte’s term on June 30.

The employees include videographers, editors and graphic artists, he said.

“If the incoming secretary does not agree to continue being a content creator, all of them will have endo (end-of-contract) by June 30,” Ablan said.

The PCOO, he said, is ready to submit its transition report to the incoming communications secretary of presumptive president Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

“We have no information (on who will be the next PCOO secretary) yet, hopefully this week there will be an announcement,” he said.

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