NAMRIA conducted the Freedom of Information (FOI) webinar via Zoom on 29 September 2023. The learning event provided the participants with valuable insights into the values of transparency, accountability, and access to information. Likewise, it gave the latest updates on FOI implementation and introduced the ideas and foundations of FOI to the new members of the NAMRIA FOI Committee and Decision Makers. The NAMRIA FOI Committee and the agency's officials, from the deputy administrators to the Branch division chiefs attended the online webinar.
In his opening remarks, NAMRIA FOI Chairperson, Director Ruel DM. Belen emphasized the crucial role of the national government's FOI Program in the pursuit of good governance and ensuring citizens' right to access information held by public authorities. He said that the effectiveness of the FOI Act is dependent on how well it is understood, utilized, and upheld.
The webinar resource persons were Ms. Dianne M. Gammad, MPA, Compliance Monitoring Officer of the FOI Program Management Office of the Presidential Communications Office (FPMO-PCO) and Ms. Frances Paula P. Libo-on, Project Development Officer of FPMO-PCO. They discussed the FOI Program and Implementation Updates, Administrative Liabilities related to FOI, Appeals Mechanism, and Inventory of Exceptions to FOI requests. They also talked about the various policies put into place to streamline the request and disclosure processes to make it easier for citizens to access government information. Policy examples are the No Wrong Door Policy for FOI, the guidelines on Vexatious Freedom of Information Requests and Abuse of Rights, the Guidelines on Redaction and Extraction of Information Before Disclosure to the Public, and the Policy on Anonymization.
The NAMRIA participants learned from the resource persons the most recent technological advancements and tools utilized in the national government's eFOI Portal to streamline the process of handling FOI requests and responses. The technological innovations were said to be designed to improve the website's efficiency and effectiveness, ultimately creating a more user-friendly and responsive system for both citizens and the FOI Receiving Officers.
The webinar also served as a forum for in-depth conversations regarding the national government's continuous endeavors, which are aimed at enhancing the implementation of FOI. The event ended with the closing remarks delivered by Director Concepcion A. Bringas.
NAMRIA FOI Chairperson, Director Belen gives his opening remarks.
...and Ms. Libo-on discuss their respective topics.
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