While we recognize the weight of the work of the IATF and entire government during these trying times, we believe that now, more than ever, Filipinos need freedom of information in order to be assured that the government is doing its best to fight this pandemic. The FOI Request Tracker will help us monitor what the government is doing to stop COVID-19.

The R2KRN Coalition launched on social media last night the Freedom of Information (FOI) Tracker on the Government’s COVID-19 Response and Operations in order to keep track of the public FOI request the coalition sent last March 29, 2020 to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) and the implementers of the National Action Plan (NAP), as well as to the Departments of Health, Labor and Employment, Social Welfare and Development, and Agriculture last April 6, 2020. The request was made to ask for relevant information related to the work of the aforementioned agencies.

“Using the tracker, it will be easier for us to monitor whether the requested data/information are publicly made available. It will provide relevant notes including the links and brief comments on the completeness, timeliness, and format of the information, among others. It will monitor updates and new releases, as well as serve as a tracker of useful data/information from other public and private entities with links to the relevant sources. The Tracker will give a Summary Update every Tuesday end of business, flagging important points and highlights,” R2KRN co convener Jenina Joy Chavez explained.

Chavez added that R2KRN is aware that the situation is fluid and recognizes that the information requested may be partially released at best. According to her, what is important is that these are released in a timely manner and updated regularly.

Chavez emphasized that the data/information requested should be given in compliance with transparency procedures.

“The government should publish and post information in accessible platforms, and must include these in relevant daily briefings. Also, the information must be in open-data and machine-readable format. This is what transparency is about,” she said.

Lastly, she encouraged people to help the coalition update the Tracker.

“We encourage everyone to help us in making this Tracker an effective way of monitoring government action to stop COVID-19. Kindly alert us to new releases we may miss and point us to private initiatives gathering and interpreting government data. You may leave comments and links to documents, which we will upload to the Tracker after verification. During difficult times like this, when government asks people to work hand-in-hand, we would be more enthused if we have full knowledge of and confidence in what the government is doing,” she said. (END)