June 20, 2023
MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. pledged to safeguard Freedom of Information (FOI) on Monday, recognizing its benefits in the government’s fight against misinformation and deception.
At the 14th Edition of the International Conference of Information Commissioners (ICIC) in Pasay City, the President said that “fake news should have no place in modern society.”
He also announced a Media and Information Literacy Campaign to support the FOI Program.
“The FOI Program has greatly advanced the campaign against misinformation and disinformation in the country. A problem that we in the Philippines also suffer from as I guess all of us do around the world,” Marcos said during his keynote address at the event that is being hosted by the Philippines this year.
“Like everyone here, we too recognize as a matter of principle that fake news should have no place in modern society,” he added.
Marcos continued: “As part of our efforts, we will undertake a Media and Information Literacy Campaign, which shall be digital, multimedia, and youth-oriented.”
According to the President, the Philippine Development Plan for 2023 mandates and digitizes the FOI program.
“I reiterate our call not only to the executive branch, but to all branches of government, to genuinely uphold and give effect to the people’s freedom of information in the course of our day-to-day operations, with good faith and with openness,” he said.
Implementation of the FOI Program is under the Presidential Communications Office (PCO).
PCO Secretary Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil said the ICIC is a global network that connects information officials across the world, with nearly 120 delegates from different countries in attendance.
“Being your host this year is indeed a testament that the Philippine government recognizes access to information as a fundamental human right that must be upheld. We are proud to be part of this important discourse that will greatly impact the lives of the people we serve,” she said.
In May, however, Malacañang announced that it had placed more restrictions on the FOI directive of former President Rodrigo Duterte. Exemptions to the FOI now include information regarding national security, as well as information about safety of minors.