March 29, 2020
Hon. Francisco T. Duque III
Chair, Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases
Gen. Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. (ret.)
National Implementer, National Action Plan
Dear Secretary Duque and General Galvez,
The Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition, a network of advocates from the academe, labor sector, the youth, civil society organization and media campaigning for the passage of the Freedom of Information law and the promotion of FOI practice in the country, is hereby lodging a public Freedom of Information request on critical information related to the work of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) and the implementers of the National Action Plan (NAP).
Consistent with our Constitutional right to information and the government policy on FOI, we make this a public request beyond the procedures set forth in Executive Order 2, s. 2016 because we believe that the relevant information are best released immediately, publicly, and updated regularly.
In particular, we request the following general information:
- The organizational structure of the IATF and the NAP, with contact information of agency point persons or units that can entertain inquiries from the public;
- The specifics of the IATF plans and NAP implementation, with details on responsible agencies and units, and contact information of relevant persons and units that can entertain inquiries from the public;
- Medical monitors, with focus on the following:
- The action plan and timeline intended to address and contain the COVID-19 crisis, with particular emphasis on plugging the weaknesses in the healthcare system and addressing the increasing number of infection;
- Data on COVID-19 transmission trend, with anonymized patient data (age, gender, areas of residence, co-morbidities, diagnosis, and recovery status); tests done with focus on types and results (positive, negative, retests, and number of unique individuals tested, time, and geographic distribution; and official protocol on testing, including who should be tested and how the sequence of processing is determined; and,
- Data on medical management: inventory and monitor of hospitals and health facilities per region/province/city, prioritizing those identified as COVID-19 referral facilities, an inventory of their medical capacity (bed, equipment, supplies, health personnel), their daily requirements for PPEs and related health products, and the assistance they get from the national government (distribution of test kits, PPEs, equipment and relevant supplies;
- The status of the implementation of Republic Act No. 11469, or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act of 2020, specifically on the following:
- Amount of public funds reprogrammed, reallocated, and realigned from which particular savings and automatically appropriated lumpsums; sources of funds and new appropriations; dates of release of fund disbursements; and agency recipients of specific disbursements;
- Budget items prioritized for augmentation: new allocations and use per Department or recipient unit;
- Support to government workers and front-liners:
- COVID-19 Special Risk Allowance: number of those who were asked to report to work per Department, whether and when they have already received the special risk allowance, and the total amounts disbursed;
- Support to front-liners affected by COVID-19 (PhP100,000 for those infected and PhP1 million for the families of those who had died from COVID-19): number of recipients, by type of support, date of fund transfer to which recipient family/kin;
- Social amelioration measures:
- Emergency subsidy of PhP5,000 to PhP8,000 a month for two months to 18 million low-income households: number of recipients per province/city/town, date of fund release, and designated disbursing agency;
- Expanded and enhanced Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program: specific program enhancements made, fund releases, and number of recipient.
As a follow-up of this public request, we will also be writing individual agencies on the specific information that are critical to be shared with all citizens at this time.
Recognizing both the urgent need for the above information and the unusual circumstances, where most government employees are working from home and are overwhelmed with day-to-day management of the crisis, we propose that the following transparency modes be employed in the release of the information:
- Publish and post these data and information – and update these daily – in various accessible platforms, including a public general monitoring platform, official agency websites, radio/tv broadcast news websites;
- Include these data and information in the regular briefings of the IATF and implementers of the NAP.
- Make the data and information available in an open-data format (Excel or CSV not PDF or screenshots). This is for the benefit of those who wish to analyze trends, and assist in contact-tracing and in projecting the behavior of the transmission; those who project demand and supply of needed supplies and equipment; and those who monitor how fast government finances and assistance are dispensed and identify where the bottlenecks might be.
- In the release and publication of the information above, sensitive private information (actual names and exact addresses of persons) should be protected and redacted, as necessary.
We are invoking our constitutionally guaranteed right to information to promote and safeguard transparency and accountability from public agencies, to access services and stake claims to other rights, and to facilitate positive initiatives like policy research, planning and on-the-ground action. All these we find relevant in this public request. Most important of all, we request these data and information so that all Filipino citizens can be fully informed and empowered in the fight against the dreaded COVID-19.
We need transparency for our citizens to feel reasonably confident that the government is taking care of them as best it should.
We need transparency for our citizens to be able to assess how best and where we could help our public agencies and front-liners.
We need timely information so parallel initiatives in different communities and contexts can best respond to what and where the gaps are.
We need information so those we ask to volunteer for government and non-government initiatives understand full well what they are signing up for, feel how valued they are, and get the explanation on why despite this great value they may not be compensated justly.
We need transparency so that people can report on where lapses exist and abuses happen, just as they can provide feedback and constructive inputs on initiatives that work.
We need information so people know how best to protect themselves, their families and their communities.
We need transparency because we want all Filipinos to conquer our nation’s battle against COVID-19.
We appreciate the gravity of the situation and the load that the IATF and the entire government carry. But now, more than ever, with such great responsibility and equally substantial authority in the hands of government, the people have a right to know.
Public interest will be served best by transparency, accountability, and the steady flow of good, relevant, and useful information for all.
Thank you very much.
For the Right to Know. Right Now! Coalition members and friends, the R2KRN Co-Conveners:
Atty. Eirene Jhone Aguila
Ms. Malou Mangahas
Ms. Jenina Joy Chavez
The following organizations and individuals support this public FOI request:
Updated as of 1:00 p.m., April 1, 2020
Action for Economic Reforms (AER)
Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP)
Aksyon Kabayanihan Para sa Organizadong Pagbabago (ANGKOP)
Alliance for Improving Health Outcomes
Capitol Christian Leadership
Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO)
Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA)
Coalition Against Trafficking in Women – Asia Pacific (CATW)
Consolidated Council of Health and Allied Professions (PSLINK-CCHAPS)
Cities and Environments Research Network
Federation of Sicogon Island Farmers and Fisherfolk Associations (FESIFFA)
Focus on the Global South
FOI Youth Initiative (FYI)
Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA)
Freedom from Debt Coalition
HS Sporting Goods & Services
Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS)
Institute for Popular Democracy
Integrated Rural Development Foundation
Kalipunan ng mga Kilusang Masa (KALIPUNAN)
Kilusan ng Magbubukid sa Bondoc Peninsula
Kilusan para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo at Katarungang Panlipunan (KATARUNGAN)
Labor Education and Research Network (LEARN)
Lingap Para sa Kalusugan ng Sambayanan (Likas)
Love Is All We Need
National Public Workers Congress (PUBLIK)
National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA/ Caritas Philippines)
Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ)
Philippine Society of Public Health Physicians
Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM)
Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK)
Rice Watch Action Network
Rural Poor Institute for Land and Human Rights Services (RIGHTS, Inc.)
Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO)
Social Watch Philippines (SWP)
Solidarity of Oppressed Filipino People (DAMPA/SOFP)
Stop the War Coalition Philippines
United Healthcare Organization of the Philippines
Urban Forum PH
Uswag Este Katarungan
Women and Gender Institute (WAGI)
DLSU University Student Government
FEU Biological Science Society
Junior Philippine Economics Society
Malabon Youth Council
PUP College of Social Sciences and Development Student Council
PUP Economics Research Society
PUP Junior Political Economists’ Guild
PUP SEED Network
PUP Sociology Society
Rotaract Club of Raha Sulayman Volunteers
Rotary Club of Raha Sulayman Manila
St. Luke’s Medicine Student Council
The Oikonomos Nexus
UP Alyansa ng Mga Mag-aaral Para sa Panlipunang Katwiran at Kaunlaran
UP Business Administration Council
UP Economics Towards Consciousness
Viva Voce COC
Y’s Men International- Philippine Region
Y’s Men’s Club of RAHA Paranaque
Benjamin Madlansacay, Jr.
Buenaventura Dargantes, PhD
Clarissa V. Militante
Eddie Dorotan, MD
El Delle Hope A. Aldecoa
Francisco A. Magno, PhD
Jerome Patrick Cruz
John Cedric Javier
John Joseph A. Aldecoa
John Matthew A. Aldecoa
John Peter A. Aldecoa
Jose Mari Q. Aldecoa
Joseph Anthony Lim, PhD
Juliah Neil Gama
Lian Laya Leonen-de Vela
Atty. Korina A. Aldecoa
Maria Fatima Villena
Maria Rosario Felizco
Mary Ann Manahan
May “Juana Change” Paner
Merci Llarinas Angeles
Mira Ofreneo, Ph.D.
Oliva Veronica A. Carbungco
Randy Tuano, PhD
Raymond Marvic Baguilat
Rene Ofreno, PhD
Sixdon C. Macasaet
Tesa Casal de Vela, DPA