President Rodrigo Duterte has issued an Executive Order (EO) on Freedom of Information (FOI) which grants public access to documents related to government transactions, decisions, and research.
The EO covers all government offices under the executive branch such as departments and bureaus.
Presidential Communications Sec. Martin Andanar explained that under the EO, all requested government information should be released within 15 days, and that government officials who refuse or fail to release such information may face administrative charges.
The order also mandates that the Department of Justice and the Office of the Solicitor General submit to the Office of the President an inventory of documents that should be exempt from freedom of information requests.
Andanar confirmed during a press conference that the President signed the executive order on Saturday night — only 25 days into the Duterte presidency and two days before the President’s first State of the Nation Address.