ASec Ablan urges LGUs to pass FOI ordinance

LAOAG CITY, April 7 (PIA) –Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Atty. Kris Ablan visited his home province, Ilocos Norte on Thursday to promote and discuss Freedom of Information Bill.

The forum, held at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Session Hall, was well-attended by local media partners, local government information officers, and youth leaders of the province.

Part of this endeavor is to engage local governments to pass their own FOI ordinance.

“There is no FOI ordinance yet and of course, coming from Ilocos Norte, I prefer that the first province or the first city to pass an FOI ordinance, it would come from here. Especially, it’s consistent with the plans and programs of Governor Marcos and Mayor Fariñas,” he said.

September last year, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Ilocos Norte passed an ordinance providing for the rules in the implementation of the right to access to information of the locals in Ilocos Norte.

All offices in the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte now observes this order, including component cities and municipalities.

Ablan also encouraged other LGUs to pass their own ordinance.

“If there are questions regarding implementation of FOI, we will try to discuss it so that there will be no problems when local governments pass their FOI ordinances,” he added.

Although FOI calls for an active disclosure of information to the public, he assured government employees to protect their privacy in their Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth against improper use.

“You follow RA 6713 and you have to ascertain what the reason is and if it is valid, the next thing is when you disclose it, you can reduct your government ID. There is a National Privacy Commission advisory that protects government workers kasi nga baka mamaya, kung may galit lang sayo, kung anong hihingin sayo tapos i-haharrass ka,” he stated.

The executive also encouraged participants, especially the youth, to get an access to the FOI website and reiterated the vision of the PCOO for a well-engaging communications office to the community.

“FOI is not just for journalists and media, FOI is for you. FOI is for everyone,” he said.  (Ma. Joreina Therese A. Blanco/PIA-1, Ilocos Norte)