BISCAST, Naga City – Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) urged the students of Bicol State College of Applied Sciences and Technology (BISCAST) to avail government’s Freedom of Information (FOI) program for their research studies.

In the 2019 PCOO Roadshow this morning, PCOO Assistant Secretary and FOI Philippines Program Director Atty. Kristian R. Ablan encouraged the students to use FOI for their factual and truthful researches.

“FOI is a reliable tool for acquiring first-hand information from government. Sa ngayon, maraming estudyante na ang gumamit ng FOI and nagrequest ng data para sa mga research nila. Kayo (BISCAST students), mapapakinabangan nyo ito lalo na kung kailangan ninyo ng data sa mga government agencies”, Ablan said.

Ablan also shared some stories of Filipino students here and abroad, who have requested through e-FOI portal and were provided with data from different government offices.

FOI program is a mechanism that enables individuals to request information on government operations and transactions via standard or electronic means.

Meanwhile, PCOO Secretary Jose Ruperto Martin M. Andanar reported that aside from 100 percent FOI-compliant NGAs, 92 percent of State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) along with 88 percent of the government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) and 38 percent of the local water districts have submitted manuals as guides for the process of obtaining information from government.

He also said that when the work of government is open for examination by the public, the people become the primary participants in checking the misuse of funds.

“Because of the FOI executive order, we have likewise opened a direct communication highway for people-to-government discourse,” Andanar added.

In July 23, 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte issued the Executive Order No. 2 s. 2016 to operationalize in the Executive Branch the people’s right to information through FOI Program.

PCOO mentioned that through FOI, there will be increase media and information literacy which will likewise promote responsible handling and sharing of information and end the proliferation of fake news.

The 2019 PCOO Roadshow was held at BISCAST ETC Hall wherein at least 500 participants from the national and local government agencies, non-government organizations, academe and the media attended.