Philippines government launches electronic site for freedom of information

Public can now access information from 15 government agencies

By Kareyst Lin
Nov. 30, 2016

The Philippines government, Malacañang, has launched the electronic site for freedom of information (eFOI) last Friday (25 November 2016). The public now have access to information they may need from 15 government agencies, The Philippine Star said in a report. 

The portal allows people to look into the transactions of the 15 agencies that are participating in the beta stage of eFOI, according to Kris Ablan, Assistant Secretary for Policy and Legislative Affairs.

However, not all data can be accessed. Exemptions include the following:

-          information covered by executive privilege,

-          information relating to national security, defense or international relations,

-          information concerning law enforcement and protection of public and personal safety,

-          information affecting privacy like cases involving minors and victims of crimes,

-          information, documents or records deemed confidential by concerned government agencies,

-          prejudicial premature disclosure,

-          record of court proceedings,

-          those involving banking and finance laws, and

-          other exception provided by law.

The portal is currently still in its test stage; only information coming from six departments and nine agencies can be accessed online.

The six departments are: the departments of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Budget and Management (DBM), Justice (DOJ), Health (DOH) and Transportation (DOT).

The nine agencies include: the Presidential Communications Office, Philippine Statistics Authority, National Archives of Philippines, Philippine National Police, Philippine Health Insurance Corp., Office of the Government Corporate Counsel, Presidential Commission on Good Government, Office of the Solicitor General and Public Attorney's Office.

Crucial departments, like education, social welfare and public works, can still be accessed through the manual method.