FINAL FINAL OUTLINE [with color coding]: The Freedom of Information Act of 2009: A Primer

Pola Rosie Michael

Objective: To outline a comprehensive rationale for freedom of information
I. a. b. c. d. II. a. b. c. d. III. Primer History of the Bill Background Timeline of legislation Freedom of information in the country Necessity Legal basis Bill of Rights provision Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials (RA 6713) Article 19 of the UDHR states Clamor

a.

letter to speaker Nograles signed by reps of 70 organizations

b. collection of petitions and letters from Right To Know, right now campa c. IV. a. b. c. V. a. b. AER Urgency National Elections (automation) Maguindanao massacre, plight of journalist ZTE Model: SB 3308: Enabling laws for the FOIA Description of the Senate bill according to questions in four areas

i.

Part I – Rosie

ii.
II – Rosie

Part

iii.
III – Rosie

Part

iv.
– Michael c. VI. a. Comparison with House Bill Comparison of FOIA from other Countries Comparing the models of three other democratic countries i. ii. iii. VII. VIII. Advantages and Disadvantages Recommendation and Conclusion

Part V

United States Japan Singapore

______________________________________ ____________

Notes:

II. Model Discussion on the law itself First we describe the law, and then we refer to the questions (below) and answer the most important • • • • • Mechanism: discuss key provisions and compare the house and senate bills Actors Budget Scope - limitations and exceptions Safeguard

http://www.opengovjournal.org/article/view/5167/3628

http://www.article19.org/pdfs/publications/foi-as-an-international-right.pdf

I A. Who can request records? 1. Status of requestor 2. Purpose of request 3. Use of records B. Whose records are and are not subject to the act? 1. Executive branch a. Records of the executives themselves b. Records of certain but not all functions 2. Legislative bodies 3. Courts 4. Nongovernmental bodies a. Bodies receiving public funds or benefits b. Bodies whose members include governmental officials. 5. Multi-state or regional bodies 6. Advisory boards and commissions, quasi-governmental entities. 7. Others C. What records are and are not subject to the act? 1. What kinds of records are covered? 2. What physical form of records are covered? 3. Are certain records available for inspection but not copying? D. Fee provisions or practices 1. Levels or limitations on fees. 2. Particular fee specifications or provisions. a. Search b. Duplication c. Other 3. Provisions for fee waivers 4. Requirements or prohibitions regarding advance payment 5. Have agencies imposed prohibitive fees to discourage requesters? E. Who enforces the act? 1. Attorney [Solicitor] General's role 2. Availability of an ombudsman 3. Commission or agency enforcement

F. Are there sanctions for noncompliance?

II. Exemptions and other Legal Limitations

A. Exemptions in the open records statute. 1. Character of exemptions a. General or specific b. Mandatory or discretionary 2. Discussion of each exemption

III. Law on Electronic Records A. Can the requester choose a format for receiving records? B. Can the requester obtain a customized search of computer databases to fit particular needs? C. Does the existence of information in electronic format affect its openness? D. How is email treated? E. Is software public? F. How are fees for electronic records assessed? G. Money-making schemes 1. Revenues 2. Geographic Location Systems H. Online dissemination

IV. Record categories - Open or Closed

A. B. C. D. E. F. G. H. I. J.

Autopsy reports Bank Records Business records, financial data, trade secrets. Contracts, proposals, and bids. Collective bargaining records. Coroner's reports Election records Gun permits Hospital permits Personnel records 1. Salary 2. Disciplinary records 2. Police blotter. 3. 911 tapes. 4. Investigatory records. a. Rules for active investigations b. Rules for closed investigations 5. Arrest records 6. Compiliations of criminal histories 7. Victims 8. Confessions 9. Confidential informants 10. Police techniques 11. Mug shots L. Prison, parole, and probation reports M. Public utility records N. Real estate appraisals, negotiations. O. School and university records 1. Athletic records 2. Trustee records 3. Student records 4. Other P. Vital statistics 1. Birth certificates 2. Marriage and divorce 3. Death certificates

V. Procedure for obtaining records

A. How to start 1. Who receives a request? 2. Does the law cover oral requests? a. Arrangements to inspect and copy b. If an oral request is denied: 1. How does the requester memorialize the refusal? 2. Do subsequent steps need to be in writing? 3. Contents of a written request a. Description of the records b. Need to address fee issues c. Plea for quick response. d. Can they request for future records? e. Other B. How long to wait. 1. Statutory, regulatory or court-set time limits for agency response. 2. Informal telephone inquiry as to status. 3. Is delay recognized as a denial for appeal purposes? 4. Any other recourse to encourage a response. C. Administrative appeal 1. Time limit. 2. To whom is an appeal directed? a. Individual agencies. b. A state commission or ombudsman. c. State attorney general. 3. Fee issues. 4. Content of appeal letter. a. Description of records or portions of records denied b. refuting the reasons for denial. 5. Waiting for a response.

6. Subsequent remedies. D. Court action. 1. Who may sue? 2. Priority. 3. Pro se. 4. Issues the court will address: a. Denial b. Fees for records. c. Delays. d. Patterns for future access (Declaratory judgment). 5. Pleading format. 6. Time limit for filing suit. 7. What court. 8. Judicial remedies available 9. Courts and attorneys fees 10. Fines. 11. Other penalties 12. Settlement pros and cons E. Appealing initial court decisions. 1. Appeal routes. 2. Time Limits for filing appeals. 3. Contact of interested amici. F. Addressing government suits against disclosure.

III. Advantages and Disadvantages IV. Comparison with FOIA from other countries: [all democracies,

c/o supermichael

V. Conclusion Questions and Recommendation • • Chiz Escudero: ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS TO STRENGTHEN FOIA money making schemes to support the added cost of FOIA

Timeline + background info
May 6, 2008 - HB 3732, entitled An Act Implementing the Right of Access to Information on Matters of Public Concern Guaranteed Under Section Twenty-Eight, Article II and Section Seven, Article III of the 1987 Constitution and for Other Purposes,” a substitute for bills 194, 997, 1665, 2021, 2059, 2176, 2223, 2293 and 3116, is brought to the House floor. May 12, 2009 - HB 3732 passes its second reading. June 3, 2009 - Committee Report 534 is filed, regarding Senate Bill 3308 (The Freedom of Information Act of 2009) substituting SBs No. 16 (Revilla), 109 (Roxas), 576 (Estrada), 592 (Estrada), 1578 (Villar), 2571 (Legarda), and 3273 (Cayetano, A., Cayetano, P., and Zubiri), taking into consideration HBN 3732 (Angara, Del Mar, Villanueva, et al.) and SRN 11 (Estrada). Sponsors: Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV. December 14, 2009 - The Senate votes 12-0 to approve FOIA on 3rd reading. Senators who signed the measure are Francis Escudero, Francis Pangilinan, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, Rodolfo Biazon, Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel, Jr. Panfilo Lacson, Richard Gordon, Miriam DefensorSantiago, Gregorio Honasan, Edgardo Angara, and Joker Arroyo. January 31, 2010 - Bicameral committee approves FOIA. February 1, 2010 - Senate ratifies bicameral version of FOIA. House approval needed. February 3, 2010 - Congress adjourns for the 2010 elections. FOIA is left hanging. February 14, 2010 - ATIN writes to Speaker Prospero Nograles: http://www.aer.ph/images/stories/projects/id/nograles-letter-14%20feb%202010-final.pdf May 31 to June 4, 2010 - Last week of 14th Congressional sessions; FOIA hoped to be passed within this week.

Benefits
· Morse, Jane “Freedom of Information Laws benefit Government and Public” 14 December 2006 USINFO article Washington -- Freedom of information (FOI) laws benefit both the public and the government, although governments are sometimes reluctant to adopt them, says William

Ferroggiaro, a Washington-based writer and consultant with more than 15 years of experience as an advocate for government accountability. Ferroggiaro spoke with participants from Egypt, Guyana, Macedonia, Madagascar, Pakistan and other parts of the world during a USINFO Webchat December 14. In the United States, the Freedom of Information Act ensures the public's right to access U.S. government records and is an important component of ensuring the government's accountability to the people it serves, Ferroggiaro said. The act prevents the creation of secret laws and regulations, he said. Through it, he added, “the public can have access to documents, although after the fact, that discuss policies that affect their daily lives. Knowing that the public will find out about ill-conceived ideas potentially prevents those ideas from being put forward.” For the government, freedom of information laws provide a legal mechanism for disclosure of information and improve credibility before the public, Ferroggiaro said. The U.S. Freedom of Information Act was passed by Congress in 1966 and went into effect in 1967. There were “a lot of political battles,” however, to make it the law of the land, Ferroggiaro acknowledged. Currently, more than 70 countries have some legal right of access to information, he said. “But it is difficult for countries anywhere to enact and implement such laws,” Ferroggiaro said. Although the United Kingdom enacted its law in 2002, he noted, the law went into effect only recently. “It is difficult for governments to see the benefit of public access to information,” he said. “And in developing countries, FOI may not seem like the first priority against other pressing needs. But countries like India and South Africa have demonstrated that FOI or right to information is absolutely essential to enabling other human rights, such as right to food and water, right to shelter, let alone freedom of expression. “In developing countries that have a law, there is great expectation that it will reduce corruption and some evidence of that, but it is also a long struggle that must go forward with other complementary initiatives for justice, such as judicial reform,” Ferroggiaro said. “Information is the lifeblood of democracy,” he said, “and we must remain forever vigilant to protect that right.” · Egan, Patrick. "Costly Monitoring: Using Positive Theory to Analyze the Implications of the Freedom of Information Act" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Philadelphia Marriott Hotel, Philadelphia, PA, Aug 27, 2003 ABSTRACT: There is little empirical or formal research conducted by political scientists on freedom of information (FOI) laws. Those who have studied FOI laws have portrayed them as tools that help legislatures monitor bureaucracies at a lower cost than direct monitoring. In this paper, I formally model the effects of FOI laws to argue that such monitoring comes at a cost: it brings agency actions to the attention of the public, leading to a shift of policy toward the preferences of the median voter. In some cases, this shift is in the legislature’s interest. But in others, it is not. Self-interested, rational legislators therefore do not always have the incentive to adopt and expand FOI laws. I support this analytical finding with examples from the 40-year legislative history of the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, and lay out additional testable hypotheses that are yielded by my theory. · Freedom of Information Around the World 2006 Report 20/09/2006 Privacyinternational.org Privacy International released the Freedom of Information Around the World 2006: Global Survey of Access to Government Information Laws on 20 September 2006. The Survey provides a comprehensive review of Freedom of Information Laws and practices in nearly 70 countries around the world. The survey draws attention to the growing movement around the world to adopt FOI laws. In just the past two years, over a dozen countries have adopted new laws and decrees, while dozens more are considering proposals. Important international treaties such as the UN Convention Against Corruption have also gone into force. These laws are being used to

fight corruption, make government bodies accountable and promote social and human rights. Unfortunately, the survey also highlights that many problems still exist such as poorly drafted laws, lax implementation and an ongoing culture of secrecy in many countries. There are also dangers in backsliding such as in Ireland where the imposition of onerous fees has significantly reduced use of the law and in the United Kingdom where a similar proposal is being considered. New laws promoting secrecy in the global war on terror have also undercut access. Key Provisions · Sec. 4. Definition of Terms. (a) "Information…." · Sec. 7. Exceptions. · Sec. 9. Procedure of Access. ( c) The government agency shall comply with such request within seven (7) calendar days form the receipt thereof. (f) The time limits prescribed in this Section for the production of the requested information may be extended wherever there is a need for any of the following… (g) The government agency shall, in writing or through electronic means, notify the person making the request of the extension, setting forth the reasons for such extension and the date when the information requested shall be made available: Provided, that no such notice shall specify a date that would result in an extension of more than fifteen (15) calendar days from the original deadline. · Sec. 11. Notice of Denial · Sec. 12. Implementation Requirements. (a) For the effective implementation of this Act, every government agency shall prepare a Freedom of Information Manual, which shall include the following information… · Sec. 13. Remedies in Cases of Denial. · Sec. 14. Mandatory Disclosure of Transactions Involving Public Interest. (a) Subject to Sections 7 and 8 of this Act, all government agencies shall upload on their websites, which shall be regularly updated every fifteen (15) days, all the steps, negotiations and key government positions pertaining to definite propositions of the government, as well as the contents of the contract, agreement or treaty in the following transactions involving public interest… · Sec. 15. Promotion of Openness in Government (c) accessibility of language and form [just thought that was interesting. :)] · Sec. 16. Criminal Liability and Administrative Liability.

Useful Related Laws
This is contained in the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials (RA 6713). It states: “All public officials and employees shall, within 15 working days from receipt thereof, respond to letters, telegrams, or other means of communications sent by the public. The reply must contain the action taken on the request.” Excerpt from Nepomuceno Malalan's article: Right to know right now!

http://www.pcij.org/resources/nepo-malaluan-right-to-know-right-now.pdf Our fundamental law finds support in emerging international law on right to information. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1966 are considered by many to be a codification or evidence of international custom or general principles of law binding even upon non-state parties. Article 19 of the UDHR states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” The same is also embodied in Article 19 (2) of the ICCPR. These provisions are increasingly being regarded as embodying a distinct right to information. In his fifth report as UN Commission on Human Rights Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Mr. Abid Hussain (India) stated that “the right to seek and receive information is not simply a converse of the right to freedom of opinion and expression but a freedom on its own.”

COMPARISONS WITH OTHER MODELS COMPARISON OF HOUSE AND SENATE VERSION i've got the perfect file, its a chart comparing the two bills with a third column siting the exact changes IMPORTANCE of FOIA, URGENCY and PUBLIC CLAMOR
• Since the drafting of the 1987 constitution which held provisions for public's right to information (Bill of Rights), it has taken two decades for an actual FOIA to come about and the failure of its enactment before Congress ends session will mean that the bill will have to go through the whole process again. Maguindanao massacre justifies FOIA (see article below) FOIA would prove useful in the upcoming presidential elections, given that we are about to undertake automation for the very first time

• •

March set today for info law OK http://www.malaya.com.ph/11092009/news5.html Freedom of information, in "the prescient judgment of the Framers of the Constitution" and former Senator and Constitutional Commission member Blas Ople, "establishes a concrete, ethical principle for the conduct of public affairs in a genuinely open democracy, with the people’s right to know as the centerpiece," the network said.

The passage of the law is long overdue, according to the network, because "it is a promise to the Filipino people that the Constitution assured in 1987 yet, or 22 years ago." Even more important, the network said the passage of the law has clear future benefits: "It is a reform legislation that assumes greater urgency as we prepare for our first national automated elections on May 10, 2010." "Our people need and truly deserve this law. It is as well a demand of the times. It is, in truth, a vote for good governance, democracy, and the people’s right to know," the network stated, adding that, "only those less steadfast in the defense of good laws will stand in its way."

Excerpt from Philippine Star: Journalism Students join Freedom of Information march by Ding Cervantes, December 14, 2009 http://www.philstar.com/ArticlePrinterFriendly.aspx?articleId=532392 Apart from [Malou] Mangahas [convenor of ATIN], the other signatories to the TAN resolution included Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III of Quezon, Rep. Riza Hontiveros-Baraquel of Akbayan party-list, Alberto Lim of the Makati Business Club, and other leaders from media, labor, environmental, academic, law, youth and farmers’ sectors.

Excerpt from Action for Economic Reform article: Bishop calls for FOI Bill ratification. FOI advocates sends letter to Nograles. http://www.aer.ph/images/stories/projects/id/nograles-letter-14%20feb%202010final.pdf “The national elections will occupy media in the next several months, and it will be difficult to compete for space. But we will use creative means, work with local and regional groups, especially in Davao and Mindanao, to reach Speaker Nograles, members of Congress, and the President”, said Atty. Nepomuceno Malaluan, spokesperson of the Right to Know. Right Now! Campaign. The Letter to Speaker Nograles will be sent on Monday, February 15. The letter says that according to House rules, the consideration of bicameral conference committee reports is always in order, except when the journal is being read, the roll is being called, or the House is dividing on any question. FOI advocates ask Speaker Nograles to lead the House in ratifying the FOI Bill ahead of any other business when it resumes session on May 31, and to immediately transmit it to the President for enactment into law. Aside from Bishop Pabillo, the letter to Speaker Nograles is signed by members and supporters of the Right to Know. Right Now! Campaign composed of public-interest groups, environmental protection advocates, independent media groups, print and broadcast journalists, farmers organizations and support groups, women’s organizations, private and public sector labor unions, migrant workers, businessmen, lawyers, academic institutions, student and youth organizations, and concerned individuals. Among the individuals who signed are members of the 1986 Constitutional Commission Dr. Florangel Rosario-Braid and Dr. Wilfrido V. Villacorta. Dr. Villacorta was the author of the provision on the Right to Information in the Bill of Rights of the 1987 Constitution. Excerpt from Nepomuceno Malalan's article: Right to know right now! http://www.pcij.org/resources/nepo-malaluan-right-to-know-right-now.pdf

The result of the lack of legislation is the routine violation by government agencies of the people’s right to information. To cite a few examples: 1. the refusal of access to text of the proposed agreement during the negotiation of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA); 2. the denial of access to the report of retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. on electoral reform; 3. the initial denial of access to the report of the Independent Commission to Address Media and Activist Killings; 4. the denial of access to various government loan agreements and government contracts. 5. In its story “Multiple requests for access to info meet with flat denials”, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) reports that its own writers and editors, even though patient and diligent in their effort to secure access to documents, have met with routine denials and flimsy excuses from public officials. Over the last 10 years, the PCIJ has documented 14 major requests for information vital to its investigative reporting projects that have been rebuffed by 12 national government agencies. The requested data and documents included civil works contracts, contractors of government projects, loan agreements, and the assets and liabilities and net worth (SALNs) of justices of the Supreme Court, generals of the Armed Forces and political appointees of Malacanang and other executive agencies. The requests made in writing and followed up by multiple phone calls to the agencies concerned have been denied for the most incredulous reasons. In the most difficult cases, the PCIJ had to wait for 56 days The Need for Immediate Action by the Senate The lack of legislation on the right to information has grave consequences for the country. The resulting overall lack of transparency in government has impeded the country’s development. This relates directly to the persistence of rampant corruption that has weighed down Philippine economic performance. Free flow of information is a vital safeguard against corruption and rent seeking. Secrecy in government gives public officials and rent seekers alike a wide room for maneuver and greater cover for evidence of corruption. In contrast, transparency exposes the vested interests involved and leads to the identification of corrupt officials. Lack of transparency has also compromised the quality and effectiveness of government policies. A free flow of information is needed for better government policies. It will enhance the capacity of the public to provide timely feedback to government, promote informed debate among stakeholders, and build consensus around policy objectives and design. The availability of information on rules and government policies, programs, and resource allocation will enable the private sector to make sound long-term economic decisions. In critical enterprises such as electricity and water, public access to relevant information through regulatory agencies will help guard against undue exercise of market power.

http://www.rcfp.org/ogg/index.php

I A. Who can request records? 1. Status of requestor 2. Purpose of request 3. Use of records B. Whose records are and are not subject to the act? 1. Executive branch a. Records of the executives themselves b. Records of certain but not all functions 2. Legislative bodies 3. Courts 4. Nongovernmental bodies a. Bodies receiving public funds or benefits b. Bodies whose members include governmental officials. 5. Multi-state or regional bodies 6. Advisory boards and commissions, quasi-governmental entities. 7. Others C. What records are and are not subject to the act? 1. What kinds of records are covered? 2. What physical form of records are covered? 3. Are certain records available for inspection but not copying? D. Fee provisions or practices 1. Levels or limitations on fees. 2. Particular fee specifications or provisions. a. Search b. Duplication c. Other 3. Provisions for fee waivers 4. Requirements or prohibitions regarding advance payment 5. Have agencies imposed prohibitive fees to discourage requesters? E. Who enforces the act? 1. Attorney [Solicitor] General's role 2. Availability of an ombudsman 3. Commission or agency enforcement

F. Are there sanctions for noncompliance? t II. Exemptions and other Legal Limitations

A. Exemptions in the open records statute. 1. Character of exemptions a. General or specific b. Mandatory or discretionary 2. Discussion of each exemption

III. Law on Electronic Records A. Can the requester choose a format for receiving records? B. Can the requester obtain a customized search of computer databases to fit particular needs? C. Does the existence of information in electronic format affect its openness? D. How is email treated? E. Is software public? F. How are fees for electronic records assessed? G. Money-making schemes 1. Revenues 2. Geographic Location Systems H. Online dissemination

IV. Record categories - Open or Closed

A. B. C. D. E. F. G. H. I. J.

Autopsy reports Bank Records Business records, financial data, trade secrets. Contracts, proposals, and bids. Collective bargaining records. Coroner's reports Election records Gun permits Hospital permits Personnel records 1. Salary 2. Disciplinary records 2. Police blotter. 3. 911 tapes. 4. Investigatory records. a. Rules for active investigations b. Rules for closed investigations 5. Arrest records 6. Compiliations of criminal histories 7. Victims 8. Confessions 9. Confidential informants 10. Police techniques 11. Mug shots L. Prison, parole, and probation reports M. Public utility records N. Real estate appraisals, negotiations. O. School and university records 1. Athletic records 2. Trustee records 3. Student records 4. Other P. Vital statistics 1. Birth certificates 2. Marriage and divorce 3. Death certificates

V. Procedure for obtaining records

A. How to start 1. Who receives a request? 2. Does the law cover oral requests? a. Arrangements to inspect and copy b. If an oral request is denied: 1. How does the requester memorialize the refusal? 2. Do subsequent steps need to be in writing? 3. Contents of a written request a. Description of the records b. Need to address fee issues c. Plea for quick response. d. Can the request for future records? e. Other B. How long to wait. 1. Statutory, regulatory or court-set time limits for agency response. 2. Informal telephone inquiry as to status. 3. Is delay recognized as a denial for appeal purposes? 4. Any other recourse to encourage a response. C. Administrative appeal 1. Time limit. 2. To whom is an appeal directed? a. Individual agencies. b. A state commission or ombudsman. c. State attorney general. 3. Fee issues. 4. Content of appeal letter. a. Description of records or portions of records denied b. refuting the reasons for denial. 5. Waiting for a response.

6. Subsequent remedies. D. Court action. 1. Who may sue? 2. Priority. 3. Pro se. 4. Issues the court will address: a. Denial b. Fees for records. c. Delays. d. Patterns for future access (Declaratory judgment). 5. Pleading format. 6. Time limit for filing suit. 7. What court. 8. Judicial remedies available 9. Courts and attorneys fees 10. Fines. 11. Other penalties 12. Settlement pros and cons E. Appealing initial court decisions. 1. Appeal routes. 2. Time Limits for filing appeals. 3. Contact of interested amici. F. Addressing government suits against disclosure.

http://www.freedominfo.org/features/20051116_coronel.htm

Sheila Coronel, Editor. Access to Information in Southeast Asia. (Phillippine Center for Investigative Journalism, 2001)

Appendix 1: Availability of Public Records (A Cross-Country Comparison)
BURMA
Macroeconomic data (e.g. GNP, GDP, balance of payment, current account deficits) General social data (e.g. literacy rate, poverty rate, infant mortality rate, employment rate) Population census data

CAMBODI A

INDONESI MALAY A SIA

PHILIPPIN SINGAPOR THAILAND VIETNAM ES E
Yes. Some data are considered 'senstive' and are not easily accessed

Sometimes Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Sometimes Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Sometimes Yes

Yes

Yes Yes, but scientific quality may vary Yes Sometimes, unless classified secret Yes, but only general consolidated data No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Sometimes

Environment data (e.g. forest cover, air/water Rarely quality, coral reef destruction) Copies of laws Copies of government directives & circulars National government budget (revenues and expenditures) Local gov't budgets Military expenditures

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Sometimes Yes Yes Yes

Yes Sometimes

Yes Yes

Yes No

Yes Yes

Somtimes Sometimes

Sometimes Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Sometimes

No

Rarely No. Only basic information available

Yes No. Only total amount disclosed. LIne items not provided.

Yes

Yes

Yes

Somtimes

No

No

Rarely

No

Yes, except the military secret No budget

Gov't loans & contracts

Sometimes No

Sometimes

No, but statistics on national debt are published No

Sometimes, usually depends on the discretion Yes of the record custodian Rarely No Yes

Yes

No, except for some international contracts available via int'l agencies No

Military loans & contracts Official audit reports of gov't

No Do not exist

No No

No No

Yes

Sometimes, to Yes, once the students and audit report has

Yes, for the No, excpet reports already for media

agencies

researchers

been declared final

passed by parliament; Sometimes, for releases those under audit Sometimes Sometimes

Records of No congressional or parliament No parliamentary here proceedings Reports of official investigation on the conduct of gov't officials Police investigation reports Military/police intelligence reports

Sometimes

Yes

Yes, except those held in Yes executive session No for administrative cases; Yes for criminal cases Rarely

No

No

No

No, until the case Sometimes, if has been the report is resolved; yes, if made public by the case is filed the Cabinet in court No, unless with a court order No No, except to parties involved in the case No

Yes

Sometimes

No

No

Sometimes

Sometimes

No

No

No

No

No

Sometimes

No

Credit investigations

No

No

No

No, for checks through financial institutions; Yes, for No Assignee Department (declared bankrupts only) Yes, for civil cases; for criminal cases, notes of Yes proceedings are available only to parties involved Sometimes, but summaries Yes only

No

No

No

Court records

Rarely

No

Sometimes

Yes, except for cases lodged with Syariah Sometimes court, but only if considered public records

Sometimes

Resume of gov't Rarely officials

No

Sometimes No. 1998 banking law prohibits disclosure of client information

No

No

No

Bank records of gov't officials

No

No

No

No

No

To be decided

No

Election contributions & expenditures

No elections here

Sometimes

Sometimes

No, detailed accounts not required by law, although limits are set on expenditures and a declaration of compliance must be filed

Yes

Yes

To be decided

No

Registration of other forms of property of gov't No officials (aircraft, yachts, cars) Financial disclosure reports that No show assets and liabilities of gov't officials

No

No

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

No

No

Yes

No

To be decided

No

Corporate registration records Financial statements of publicly listed companies Financial statements of companies not listed on the stock exchange Corporate tax records Business licenses & permits Civil registry records (e.g. birth, marriage, divorce, death records) Gov't service records Military personnel records Academic records Land registration records Real estate tax records

Sometimes Yes No stock exchange here

Sometimes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Sometimes

No stock exchange here

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Sometimes No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Sometimes, but records are unreliabl

No

No

No

No Yes for business licenses; No for permits Sometimes, only with a court order No No No Yes

No

No

Sometimes

Sometimes, but records are unreliabl Yes

Sometimes Yes

Sometimes

Yes

Sometimes

Yes

No

Yes

Sometimes

No

Yes

No

Yes

No No No Rarely

Yes No Rarely Yes

Sometimes No Sometimes Sometimes

Yes Rarely No Yes Sometimes. Records are released only with proper authorization Yes

No No No Yes

Yes No Yes Sometimes

No No Sometimes Yes

Rarely

Yes

Sometimes

No

No

Sometimes

Yes through Local Tax Bureau

Licenses & permits (license No to own and carry firearms) Vehicle registration Driver's license No

Gun ownership is banned

Sometimes

No, this is classified secret

No

Sometimes

No

Yes

No

Sometimes, if party to a legal Yes suit Sometimes, if party to a legal Yes suit

No, except when party is involved No in accidents No No

Yes

No

Yes

No

Sometimes

Alien information (e.g. date of entry, manner of No arrival; addresses; occupation; age)

Yes

Sometimes

No

Sometimes

No

Sometimes

No

Voter registration records

No elections here

Yes

Sometimes

Yes. Published copy limited to clients like political parties and elected Yes. Only lists of No, restricted to representative Yes registered voters voter s; voters may check their personal particulars only Sometimes, No, only with NO No

Yes

Medical records

Rarely

No

No

Sometimes

but only with written permission from patient Rarely, only with taxpayer's written permission or authorization by Finance Minister

permission of patient

Income tax returns

No

No

No

No, only when released by taxpater

No

Sometimes

No

Industry or professional listings/directori es (e.g. bar Yes associations, chambers of commerce) National ID records Professional licensing record Civil service exams and related information No

Yes

Sometimes

Yes

Sometimes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No, still. Rarely, only experimental in with a court greater Jakarta order area Sometimes

No national ID system

No

No national ID system

No

Sometimes Yes

Sometimes, if party to a legal Sometimes suit No Yes

Yes

Yes

Sometimes

No

Yes

Sometimes

No

Sometimes

No

Excerpt from Bulatlat: "Access to Information pushed," August 31, 2008 http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2008/08/31/access-to-information-pushed/

Malaluan said, “Even if we have a very clear constitutional guarantee, many have denied our right to information.” He cited the high profile case of the National Broadband Network-ZTE deal. The Supreme Court ruling that Romulo Neri, former NEDA chairman, could invoke executive privilege and that he could not be compelled to answer three questions during the Senate inquiry on the controversial project is an example of a denial of the right to access to information, Malaluan said. Malaluan also said that the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) has been repeatedly denied access to documents pertaining to official development assistance (ODA) projects. “The DOF [Department of Finance] continues to deny these even if these clearly involve tax money.” Malaluan said, “Non- access can lead to, or be used to hide, corruption.” He said that there is no speedy, uniform procedure to access information. “Agencies will reply to you in different ways.” Excerpt from Manila Bulletin: Senate bill on right to information by Dr. Florangel Rosario Braid, November 17, 2009 http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/229944/senate-bill-right-information

Should Congress fail to pass the Freedom of Information Act by then, years of effort that went into the crafting of a progressive and responsive FOI Act will again go down the drain as in previous Congresses. "Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Majority Leader Jose Miguel Zubiri assured the network which presented a collective statement of appeal signed by more than 70 organizations from labor, business, religious, women, youth, religious, academe, etc., that the measure has the Senate’s full support. Several international organizations – Southeast Asian Press Alliance, the FOIA Net, the global listserv for the world’s leading national and international access to information experts – state that the House and Senate bills constitute a "ground-breaking piece of legislation." Toby Mendel, author of several books on freedom of information, noted that "the bills are progressive pieces of draft legislation that conform to international standards. They contain strong guarantees of the right of access, have clear and fair rules, provide for internal administrative and legal appeals, and strong sanctions for those who obstruct the right of access." "We cannot overemphasize the importance that a Freedom of Information Act will play in the maturation of Philippine society and politics. FOI is a key component of democracy. It gives flesh to the Constitutional precepts that sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them, and that public offices must at all time be accountable to the people. The right of information is also a necessary condition for the effective exercise of other rights. Should the Senate fulfill its promise to pass SB 3308 on second reading by November 18, and on third reading by December 11, it will be a historic and lasting contribution of the 14th Congress to political reform in the country."

Media: Maguindanao crime justifies Freedom of Info Act
MANILA – Journalists are citing the Maguindanao massacre as a compelling reason for the Senate to immediately pass the Freedom of Information Act (FOI). A fact-finding team led by local journalists said the law could have allowed them to scrutinize how the Arroyo government handled the Maguindanao mass killings. The call for the measure comes a week after at least 57 were summarily executed in Maguindanao. Thirty one of them were local media practitioners. In a report released to the media on Thursday, the Fact Finding Team to Maguindanao, a group formed by the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists and the National Union of the Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), rang the alarm bells.They said the authorities have yet to disclose documents crucial to the probe. The fact-finding team cited the police reports that contain investigation findings. They said these should be made available to the public. Blanket powers They also questioned the ‘blanket authority’ given to interior and local government secretary Ronaldo Puno.

Puno’s powers were not detailed in the six-paragraph Presidential Proclamation No. 1946, which declared Central Mindanao region under a state of emergency, noted Rowena P. Paraan of the fact-finding team said. President Arroyo placed Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat and Cotabato City under a state of emergency after the gruesome crime was alleged to have been committed by the private army of Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan, Jr. President Arroyo and the Ampatuan clan are political allies. Among those killed were civilians and family members of Buluan vice mayor Ismael ‘Toto’ Mangudadatu, who will challenge the Ampatuans in the upcoming elections for the gubernatorial post in Maguindanao. The fact-finding mission stated in its report that the “blanket authority granted to Puno is not contained in any presidential issuances on record. It was just discussed in a press release of the Office of the Press Secretary and in press statement of [press secretary Cerge] Remonde.” Paraan said the passage of the FOI would help journalists and the public as a whole demand for the publication of the official document specifying Puno’s thrust. The team is also seeking access to police case referral reports, which would have summarized the findings of the investigation, to be made available to the public. Keep the promise The FOI bill has been languishing in Congress for the past eight years. Its legislation would help outline procedural mechanisms for accessing public documents and would also penalize officials who refuse to release public records. The bill is in the period of interpellations at the Senate. After this, amendments could be introduced, and the measure would be approved on second and third readings. Last November 9, members of media and civil society marched to the Senate to lobby for the passage of the bill. Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile vowed that the upper chamber would pass the measure when Congress resumes sessions next week. ***

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS TO STRENGTHEN FOIA

Chiz Escudero ("Senate vows to pass Freedom of Information Act", Philippine Star, November 10, 2009):

“This is a measure that will go a long way in our people’s fight against graft and corruption in high places and boost transparency in government. Its time has come,” he said. Escudero asked the Senate to act on a bill requiring all public officials and employees to waive the exemption of their deposit accounts from the bank secrecy law. Senate Bill 1476 was one of the first bills he filed during his first year as a senator in 2007. The waiver will be made in favor of the Office of the Ombudsman and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to enable these agencies to compel financial institutions here and abroad to provide information and documents on financial assets, deposits, investments in bonds and securities of civil servants.

The Freedom on Information Bill seeks to uphold the right of the people to information on matters of public concern and the state policy of full disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest. Escudero proposed amendments to the bill to ensure that official records related to loans obtained or guaranteed by government; government contracts; statements of asset, liabilities, and net worth of government officials; and those pertaining to official investigations on graft and corrupt practices of public officers would not be destroyed. Escudero also seeks the creation of a records management program to allow easy identification, retrieval and communication of information to the public. He also proposes that a database in digital and online form be set up for all laws, presidential issuances, and appointments, and opinions of the secretary of justice.

Open government is the political doctrine which holds that the business of government and state administration should be opened at all levels to effective public scrutiny and oversight. In its broadest construction it opposes reason of state and national security considerations, which have tended to legitimize extensive state secrecy. The origins of open government arguments can be dated to the time of the European Enlightenment: to debates about the proper construction of a then nascent civil society. -Wikipedia

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