Luigi: No gag order on city dep’t heads

By: Julit C. Jainar August 22,2016 - 11:34 PM
Mandaue City mayor Luigi Quisumbing

Mandaue City mayor Luigi Quisumbing

MEDIA outlets are not prohibited from interviewing department heads of Mandaue City Hall despite Mayor Luigi Quisumbing’s memorandum requiring all interviews by the press to be handled by the Public Information Office (PIO).

The mayor’s chief of staff Atty. Elaine Bathan issued a statement on the mayor’s Aug. 8 memorandum addressed to all department heads requiring all interviews by the press and access to documents to be centralized by the PIO.

“Department heads and employees are enjoined to refrain from accepting media interviews and questions from the press without prior coordination with the Mandaue City PIO or this office,” the memorandum reads.

“It only requires that coordination be made with the PIO so that the office can assist them during these interviews,” Bathan said.

Quisumbing also said they also want to make the PIO functional.

“The city pays the public information officer, (there are) several PIO staffs, we have utilities to pay for the office and we have computers so I’d like them to be a functional office,” Quisumbing said.

Quisumbing said the term used in the memo was “enjoined” and not “prohibit” which is an invitation to the department heads to coordinate with the PIO.

At present, press briefings are done every Monday and as needed.

Vice Mayor Carlo Fortuna said he personally didn’t see the need to pass an ordinance directing all offices under the city’s executive branch to guarantee the people’s right to information.

“In the first place we have never prevented persons from accessing information as long as they make a valid request. In fact most of those who asked for information or documents are our political opponents so even if they are our opponents, we would still release those documents because they are public documents,” Fortuna said.

Last July 23, President Rodrigo Duterte signed an executive order on the freedom of information that covers all agencies under the executive department, mandating them to provide access to documents and information.

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TAGS: mandaue, Mandaue City, Mandaue City PIO, Mandaue PIO, pio, Public Information Office

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