Government vows to work on digitizing docs
Kristine B. Quintas (The Freeman) - December 2, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu provincial government is now gearing towards digitizing government documents for media and Cebuanos’ easy access, according to Governor Hilario Davide III.

However, Davide admitted that slow internet connection takes quite a toll on the government’s digitization efforts.

 “We are going that direction na tanan documents digitalize na pero hinay ang internet so maglisod ta ana. Pero padulong ta diha,” he told the Cebu Citizens Press Council during its 45th quarterly meeting at the Marcelo B. Fernan Press Center yesterday.

 This was Davide’s response to the request of CCPC to have all pertinent documents be uploaded to the provincial government website.

 Davide was invited during the meeting as resource person to talk on his executive order on Freedom of Information and providing mechanism on how to obtain information or documents from the executive department, in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s order that allows FOI.

 CCPC asked Davide to release documents and other information of public interest without the need of a written request.

 “Capitol may still regulate release without unnecessarily hampering the flow of information, especially when it affects the work of media. A more efficient system also frees Capitol from the burden of an additional layer in bureaucracy,” CCPC said.

  As to the requests and response to requests for information and documents, Davide’s EO provides that any party who wishes to obtain or have access to any record/document shall submit a written request to the concerned department or office stating the purpose of asking for the said data.

 Davide signed EO No. 15 on August 30,  which provides for the system in the executive department, including bodies, boards and commissions or councils created by ordinance under the Office of the governor or where the governor sits as chairman, in obtaining information or documents and acknowledges the people’s constitutional right to information on public matters.

 “I have signed the E.O. 15 with a mindset that access to information helps the public make public officials and employees accountable for their actions and allows public debate that produces an informed and productive citizen,” he said.

 Davide has assured media easy access to information in the Capitol.

 In fact, he said his orders, memoranda and other relevant communications are freely given to media personalities even without formal requests.  

 “So di ta magguol ana,” he said.

 But he said if the document requested is sensitive it will be forwarded to PIO, which will confer with the legal officer whether it will be released or not.

 He cited Section 3 (h) of his EO, which states that the PIO has the discretion to release the requested documents within 10 days from the joint assessment and evaluation, or deny it outright.

 “Dili man gyud stringent atong FOI,” he said.

 He said he has been promoting transparency and accountability under his administration.

  “Openness is fundamental to the political health of a modern society. Because openness is fundamental to the democratic life of the country, access to information should be a key feature of our government…If the people are informed they will do the right thing. It’s when they are not informed that they become hostages to prejudice,” he said.

 The governor said democracy is built on the idea that the government should not operate in secret and that transparency allows the Cebuanos to hold their government. (FREEMAN)  

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