ISABELA CITY, Basilan, Nov. 11 (PIA) – The local government of Isabela City pushes to operationalize Freedom of Information in the barangay level as part of its program to promote transparency and good governance.
Mayor Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman signed Executive Order No. 030 Series 2022 or an order “ Operationalizing in the Barangay Level the People’s Constitutional Right to Information and the State Policies to Full Disclosure and Transparency in the Public Service and Providing Guidelines Thereof”.
Under the Executive Order, Mayor Hataman ordered the institutionalization and operationalization of people’s right to information on matters of public concern by requesting all the 45 barangays in Isabela City to pass individually a Barangay Ordinance on Freedom of Information.
The EO strengthens the Isabela City Ordinance No. 19-536 or An Ordinance Operationalizing Freedom of Information and Providing Mechanism for Disclosure of Public Records in Isabela City and Providing Penalties for the Violation Thereof. This ordinance was sponsored by Late Councilor Nida P. Dans and approved on 2019.
EO No. 030 also supports access to information of every Isabeleño.
“Every isabeleño shall have access to information, official records, public records and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis policy development”, Section 03 of EO. No 030 stated.
However, the EO also supports the right to privacy of the individuals as follows:
1. Each Barangay Local Government Unit per Section 2 shall ensure that personal information in its custody or under its control is disclosed or released only if it is material or relevant to the subject-matter of the request and its disclosure is permissible under the EO or any existing laws, rules or regulations.
2. Each Barangay Local Government Unit must protect personal information in its custody or control by making reasonable security arrangements against leaks or premature disclosure of personal information which unduly exposes the individual whose personal information is requested to vilification, harassment or any other wrongful acts.
3. Any employee or official of a Barangay Local Government Unit per Section 2 hereof who has access, authorized or unauthorized, to personal information in the custody of the office, must not disclose that information except when authorized under this order or pursuant to existing laws, rules and regulation.
Furthermore, EO No. 030 also provides administrative liability. Under Section 15, failure to comply with the provisions of the order may be ground for administrative and disciplinary sanctions against any erring public officer or employee as provided under existing laws or regulations.
The EO was signed by Mayor Hataman on October 19, 2022 and the Barangay Local Government Units in the city are also expected to passed their Barangay Ordinance on Freedom of Information within November this year.
Operationalizing the Freedom of Information from the city to the barangay level is part of the Top Priority Agenda of Mayor Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman which is transparency and good governance.
This is also in support to the Freedom of Information or Executive Order No. 2 of our Former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. (NBE/NDR-PIA Basilan)