IN the face of challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has managed to maintain a performance rate of the highest standards in the field of Freedom of Information (FOI) garnering again an FOI Award for the second year in a row in a virtual ceremony held yesterday.
FOI-Project Management Office Assistant Secretary Program Director Michel Kristian R. Ablan conferred to the DFA the 2020 FOI Recognition Award in the National Government Agencies (NGAs) category.
“The DFA is and will always be committed to providing Filipinos their right to access information on matters of public concern, particularly on foreign policy issues and OFW-related and consular concerns. We thank the PCOO for recognizing once again the DFA’s efforts on the FOI front,” said Foreign Affairs Acting Head for Strategic Communications and Research Marie Yvette Banzon-Abalos.
Last year, the DFA was recognized as one of the “Top Requested and Performing Agencies” in the e-FOI Portal.
This year’s FOI Awards recognized the efforts of government agencies, including government-owned and controlled corporations, state universities and colleges, and local water districts, to guarantee the right to information amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This crisis made us realize that information plays a critical role in effective governance and protecting public welfare. I strongly believe that initiatives involving transparency, good governance and integrity shall shape the future of our country, we as public servants must be bold and strive tenfold so that we may leave noteworthy legacy that will benefit the present and future generations,” PCOO Secretary Martín M. Andanar said in his opening remarks.
The FOI Awards this year, with the theme “Committed, Responsive and Revolutionary”, rallies to: “Commit”—that government institutions shall continue to uphold the people’s right to access information and initiate important discourses in bridging current policy and implementation gaps; “Respond”—that government institutions shall pursue to make critical and informed decisions based on timely, credible, and verified information and take on an active role in addressing disinformation; and, “Revolutionize”— that government institutions shall seek and adopt innovative methods in building and reconstructing better systems and approaches which facilitate the effective disclosure of information all amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
The FOI program is being implemented under the Executive Order (EO) No. 2 series of 2016, which operationalizes in the Executive branch the people’s right to information and to do full public disclosure and transparency in the public service.