The Right to Know, Right Now! (R2KRN) Coalition released its Summary Report No. 3 on April 28. The R2KRN Summary Reports provide an assessment of how transparent the government has been in its COVID-19 response and operations.

Report No. 3 introduces a new section, IN FOCUS, which highlights specific agencies, documents, and datasets. For this week, it features a summary review of the President’s Reports to the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee, a
requirement of the Bayanihan Act.

“While R2KRN recognizes that the President’s Report is a transparency and accountability tool, it is not enough,” R2KRN co-convenor Jenina Joy Chavez said.

“It is also important for ordinary citizens to have access to the information and datasets cited in the [President’s] reports to be able to appreciate important details. However, some of these have not been posted in public platforms yet,” she added.

The group said that many official issuances and guidelines are yet to be posted, citing that only IATF Resolutions Nos. 9 (dated March 3) to 18 (dated April 1) are posted publicly, while officials already refer to Resolution No. 25.

The group, however, lauds that there have been more interactive information releases from government agencies, like the Knowledge Inspires Responsible Action (KIRA) or KontraCOVID Bot, #LagingHandaPH Public Briefing, and Online Talakayan about the National Action Plan on COVID-19.

“We acknowledge the Government’s efforts at transparency, and we hope that this will be maintained and improved”, according to Chavez, “but we also caution against the release of misleading and unverifiable information.”

R2KRN raises in particular the Gallup survey that claimed that 80% of Filipinos were satisfied with the Government’s response to COVID-19. There are issues surrounding the use of the Gallup brand putting the veracity of the survey in question.

In a related move, the coalition lodged an FOI Request to the Department of Labor and Employment for the Food and Agriculture Organization Report in which the agency claimed FAO acknowledged the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Displaced/Disadvantaged Workers Program (TUPAD) as a cushion to the pandemic. The coalition is still awaiting action on the request.

R2KRN launched an FOI Request Tracker on April 7 to monitor progress in COVID-19-related information requests filed by its members, and releases a Weekly Summary Report every Tuesday. The Reports can be accessed here: www.tinyurl.com/R2KRNSummaryReports, while the FOI Request Tracker is here: www.tinyurl.com/TransparencyNowPH.