Organized by PCIJ and R2KRN, this August 19-20, 2016 activity discussed the findings from the first round of FOI practice, and how these can be integrated in the FOI manual; modules on how to work on the FOI manual and engage with executive departments; and planning (timelines and outputs). From the WS, different Working Groups were formed to pursue FOI requests in four agencies (DPWH, DepED, DENR and DOH selected based on the breadth of services that they are responsible for, the amount of resources that are lodged in them, and the general interest in their activities.), and a Monitoring Group was created. AER headed the Monitoring Group and was part of another WG. These WG and the MG became the core of the R2KRN FOI Practice Team. A copy of the programcan be viewed through this link:
A WG meeting was called last August 24 to further develop the plans/ideas presented in the workshop, and AER issued regular updates on the progress of the work. The initial round of requests were sent in September. However, it was decided by the group to reboot the practice after the full rollout of the EO on November 25.
To deepen the understanding of the EO, a workshop on Exceptions, FOI Manuals, and Practice (September 28) was called, and covered the following:
- On exceptions: OSG listed 156 and DOJ 55, but Atty. Sol Lumba identified 56 exceptions grouped into 11 categories. Privacy provisions constituted the most number of exceptions. On the public interest override, the main issue was the threshold to breach, with separation of powers and personal human right having highest threshold. According to Atty. Lumba, ‘public interest’ was more difficult to assert than ‘personal human right’, and we need to deal with this in a different way (e.g. put in disclosure instead).
- We discussed FOI Manual work, using the PCO draft and the basic elements we want seen in a manual. (NOTE: during the Sept. 29 Senate hearing, PCO presented a more developed draft outline, which covered many of our issues.)
- FOI Practice clinic was conducted, with Ms. Malou providing very useful practical tips for ABI-Health, CMS and BK info requests.