Highlighting the Department of Labor and Employment’s commitment for transparency in public service, Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III issued Administrative Order No. 101, Series of 2017, which operationalizes the Freedom of Information (FOI) program at the DOLE and its attached agencies.
Signed by Secretary Bello on March 22, the administrative order directs DOLE offices and attached agencies to comply with the provisions of Executive Order No. 2, Series of 2016, which establishes the rules on access to information covering all government offices under the Executive Branch.
The administrative order tasks DOLE offices and attached agencies to provide the public with access to information, unless the requested information falls under any of the exceptions under existing laws or jurisprudence.
DOLE’s services, bureaus, regional offices, and Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) shall be guided by the DOLE’s FOI Manual, while attached agencies are required to develop their own agency manual and people’s manual.
Actions taken on original FOI request shall be made available to the client within 15 working days from the receipt of the request.
On the other hand, a person, whose request for access to information is denied, may file a written appeal to the DOLE Central Appeals and Review Committee. The Central Appeals and Review Committee have to approve or deny the appeal within 30 working days from the filing of the appeal. The FOI Receiving Officer (FRO) shall inform the party requesting the appeal of the decision within 10 working days from the promulgation.
The process flow and process cycle time, attendant requirements in availing the FOI service, names of responsible person/s, frequently asked questions, and list of exclusions, shall be posted in the respective offices’ website and in a conspicuous place within the office premises.
The name of the designated FOI receiving officer/s, office address, official contact numbers, and email address information must also be accessible to the public.
To ensure easy access, application forms, both in hardcopy and in downloadable format, must be available at all times at the DOLE main and/or respective offices’ website.
To monitor the status of all FOI requests, a recording and tracking system will be used. DOLE offices are also required to submit their quarterly Agency/Office Information Inventory and the accomplished FOI registry.
The DOLE will later migrate into electronic FOI service facility upon deployment by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), the lead agency that will monitor the implementation and compliance of agencies with the FOI program.
In line with this, PCOO Assistant Secretary Kristian A. Ablan enlightened representatives of the DOLE’s services, bureaus, and attached agencies on the FOI program in a forum entitled Freedom of Information: Toward a Transparent Path of Public Service recently held at the DOLE Central Office in Intramuros, Manila.