MANILA – As the country’s lead agency in the implementation and promotion of Freedom of Information, the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) celebrated the annual International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) by promoting the right to access information through different art forms.
The Freedom of Information – Project Management Office (FOI-PMO) under PCOO, marked its third year of celebrating IDUAI through the conduct of the nationwide FOI Multi-Arts Festival. The month-long contests showcased the creativity of Filipino artists and hobbyists in depicting the value of access to information in our democracy, and showcasing the government’s transparency legacy through visual, literary, and performing arts.
“It is on building a legacy that FOI-PMO strives to sustain and spread its advocacies to the public. It is through an informative discourse and activities that our citizens are continuously enlightened, and are engaged more meaningfully in FOI,” PCOO Undersecretary and FOI Program Director Kristian Ablan said during the FOI Multi-arts Fest’s virtual awarding ceremony on Tuesday.
This year’s edition of the festival showcased the artistry of Filipinos in creating a powerful message of transparency through essay-writing, photography, digital poster, jingle/song, and TikTok video. FOI-PMO has received a total of 258 entries from 230 participants from all over the country.
Further, in line with IDUA’s core objectives of strengthening people’s right to information and enhancing government’s information disclosure, the FOI-PMO also awarded various agencies that were well-commended by citizens for providing satisfactory FOI service. The FOI Service Experience Award is a customer-centric recognition based on feedback, comments, and assessments of the requesting parties on how agencies engaged customers and how they processed their FOI requests.
The inaugural awardees for the FOI Service Experience Award were the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), and the DENR-Land Management Bureau (DENR-LMB).
This is the sixth year of the declaration of IDUAI which is celebrated every September 28 since 2016. This year’s theme “The Right to Know – Building Back Better with Access to Information” highlights the importance of access to information laws to the achievement of sustainable development goals, and more specifically of indicator SDG 16.10.2 on public access to information.
“Amidst this global pandemic, we need to reinforce the implementation of access to information laws to strengthen our government and social institutions, and promote FOI as a basic human right,” Ablan said in his speech.
PCOO Secretary and FOI Champion Martin Andanar is confident of the accomplishments of FOI-PMO since its inception in 2016 in institutionalizing FOI in the government.
“This year, we ought to cement and preserve our collective legacy – the Freedom of Information Program. Since 2016, we toiled, left no stone unturned, and wasted neither time nor effort in ensuring that we achieve our ultimate goal of keeping every Filipino informed and capable of making informed decisions,” said Andanar.
PCOO, through FOI-PMO, continues to lobby for an all-encompassing FOI Law in the current Congress to institutionalize FOI in all levels of the government. (PR)