Senator Ralph Recto said the Freedom of Information (FOI) order signed by President Duterte today should cut red tape in public offices and lead to “shorter periods and simpler processes” in accessing government services.
“There’s one important benchmark by which this FOI order should be measured, on how fast government permits can be secured,” Recto said.
“Clear, concise, cheaper way of getting government documents like passports and licenses,” Recto added.
Recto recalled that the FOI bill passed by the Senate in the past Congress clearly mandated offices “to describe frontline services they deliver and the procedure and length of time by which they may be availed of.”
“Delays arise from lack of information. This commendable FOI order by President Digong should light the bureaucratic maze,” Recto said.
Recto said it is not enough that the public is allowed access to public documents— “it is also important that documents are written in a language they can easily understand.”
The Senate version of the FOI bill, Recto said, “called for the use of plain language in official documents and communication and their translation into the vernacular.”
“It is one thing to get documents. It is another to make documents self-explanatory and easy-to-comprehend,” he said.
So that official documents can be available online, Recto said the newly-formed Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) “should spearhead the establishment of an infrastructure that would place public records on ICT platforms.”
The DICT has a big role to play in carrying out the provisions of FOI, Recto stressed.