CCPC asks Edu Rama, City Council to finish work on local Freedom of Information ordinance

·2 min read

THE Cebu Citizens-Press Council (CCPC) has appealed to the 15th Cebu City Council, through Councilor and congressman-elect Edu Rama, to finish its work on the "Freedom Information Ordinance of Cebu City" before it ends its term on June 30.

The proposed ordinance seeks to provide a "local mechanism" in the enforcement of President Rodrigo Duterte's Executive Order of July 23, 2016 on full disclosure and transparency in government offices.

The proposed ordinance went through the processes of legislation, mostly way back in the last quarter of 2019, such as committee review, public hearing and en banc discussion. In addition, Councilor Rama attended a CCPC dialogue with Cebu news media. The proposed ordinance was in the agenda for third reading, after which it would've gone to the city mayor for approval. The series of crises that struck the city must have interrupted work on the ordinance.

CCPC raised only two major concerns, which the Press Council asks the Sanggunian to consider before final action:

[1] Formal request for a document shall be required only when it is considered an exception by City Hall but disputed by the requesting party. In other words, the FOI ordinance shall not delay release of information otherwise readily available. In fact, as a best practice, a document in which the public clearly has the right to know and is not an exception shall be unilaterally released through the City P.I.O.'s news outlets. Quick access is crucial to news media.

[2] The City Hall list of exceptions shall not include an exception not provided by the president's executive order or national law. CCPC is pleased to note that the proposed city ordinance includes the provision (Section 8), namely, that the exceptions "must be enshrined in the Constitution, existing laws or jurisprudence."

Source:

[] Atty. Pachico A. Seares, CCPC executive director

[] Marit Stinus-Cabugon, deputy director

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