Mayor John Dalipe assumed power in City Hall at noon Thursday and his first official act as local chief executive was signing an executive order, mandating the implementation of the Freedom of Information (FOI), and the adoption of an open governance policy in Zamboanga City.
In his Executive Order No. JD 2022-001, Dalipe specifically ordered that every person shall be given full access to information, official records and documents pertaining to official acts, transactions or decisions, as well as government research data used for policy development that are in the custody of the Office of the Mayor.
Request for access to such documents shall be acted expeditiously. Subject to the exemptions under the law and of Section 9 of City Ordinance 560, the executive order also directed the city’s Public Information Division to establish an FOI Transparency Bulletin Board and/or online platforms to publish and/or make these public and official records, as well as the local government’s projects, programs and activities, readily available to the public.
The new mayor, however, has yet to issue an administrative order to state the processes, internal controls and/or restrictions that are relevant to the implementation of his first executive order. Dalipe’s order on his first day in office at City Hall was in accordance with the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines that guarantees the right of the people to information on matters of public concern, and the Ordinance 560, which provides for a mechanism for local offices where the people’s right to information is recognized, respected and upheld, subject to the exceptions provided by law and jurisprudence.
Addressing the reporters, who were covering his first day in City Hall, Dalipe said, “Starting today, you have full access to all government documents.”
“Si tiene quien nu quere dale, avisa comigo,” he said early on. Recall, Dalipe did not mince a word when he declared at the inaugurals last Monday that his administration will institutionalize changes in local government transactions as he underscored honesty, sincerity and transparency in local governance.-(Vic Larato)