Cebu Citizens-Press Council to Cebu City gov’t: Cut costs, release documents online

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio January 25,2020 - 04:47 PM

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu Citizen’s Press Council (CCPC) is encouraging the Cebu City government to upload documents online for the perusal of the public in order to cut costs in the reproduction of these documents.

This is in line with the proposed Freedom of Information (FOI) ordinance proposed by Councilor Eduardo Rama, Jr., which is in compliance to the order of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for local government units to implement the Presidential Executive Order Number 2 signed in 2016

In a position paper to the Cebu City Council dated January 8, 2020, Lawyer Pachico Seares, the executive director of CCPC, called on the council to make amendments to the ordinance proposed by Rama including the “pro-active” uploading of documents online.

The CCPC said that this would cut the cost for reproducing documents as well as reduce the requests for the documents since they would readily be downloaded online.

This would also encourage the local official and public offices to publicly reveal documents without anybody asking for them, a gesture of transparency.

“The Cebu City Council can lessen bureaucracy, cut cost on both government and the people as well as speed up compliance with the FOI ordinance by pro-active and efficient release of documents and information through digital means without waiting for a request from the media and the rest of the public,” said Seares.

Communications studentPat Mahilum told CDN Digital that this request of the CCPC would be beneficial not only to media practitioners but for students as well doing research because this would cut the time needed to get some documents from the Cebu City Hall.

Mahilum said he hoped the request would be considered by the City Council because it would help students like him to have access to city documents without spending money.

Aside from making the documents available online, CCPC reminded the City Council that the restrictions or the prohibitions of the local FOI ordinance cannot have more prohibitions than its national counterpart.

“The inventory of exceptions can be fewer but not more than the exceptions that President Rodrigo Duterte’s EO and the future law will provide,” said the CCPC.

The CCPC also said that the FOI ordinance should not hamper information given during interviews or press conferences.

The proponent of the ordinance, Councilor Rama, said that he would take into consideration the position paper of the CCPC into the final draft of the FOI ordinance.

The ordinance is currently in its final revisions awaiting third and final hearing by the council members. /dbs

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TAGS: CCPC, Cebu Citizens-Press Council, Cebu city government, cut costs, documents, Freedom of Information, online, ordinance

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