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FIRST IN METRO MANILA

Pasig passes own version of FOI bill

/ 05:01 AM October 10, 2018

The Pasig City government has passed an ordinance that ensures more transparency in local governance, making it the first city in Metro Manila to have its version of the freedom of information (FOI) bill.

Ordinance No. 37 or the “Pasig Transparency Mechanism Ordinance” provides a mechanism for the disclosure of the city’s public records, including financial documents and contracts.

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Filed by Councilor Vico Sotto in June, it was approved on third reading last month. It will take effect 15 days after publication.

Under the ordinance, all citizens have the right to access, examine and copy public records, as well as publish and disseminate these. Those who request documents also do not need to give a reason for doing so or even why they are interested in the records.

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10 days to act on request

The city government has 10 days to act on requests for documents. These will all be forwarded to an information officer to be appointed by the Pasig mayor.

Each department, on the other hand, will designate a deputy information officer who will coordinate with the information officer and provide the requested records from their office.

Government officials or employees who fail to comply with the provisions of the ordinance will receive a reprimand for the first violation.

A second offense will be penalized by a 30-day suspension while a third violation will result in dismissal from the service.

In an interview, Sotto said he was “very happy” over the passage of the ordinance which he had been working on since 2015.

“The important part now is to watch its implementation, because it would be useless if it is not fully implemented. We need people to test the mechanism,” he added.

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TAGS: Pasig freedom of information bill, Pasig Transparency Mechanism Ordinance, public accountability, Vico Sotto
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