Speech by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. at the 14th Edition of the International Conference of Information Commissioners
Thank you very much, our Presidential Communications Secretary, Secretary Cheloy Garafil; the International Conference of Information Commissioners President, Commissioner and Chair Blanca Lilia Ibarra Cadena; International Conference of Information Commissioners Chairpersons and Advocate Pansy Tlakula; Pasay City Mayor Imelda Calixto-Rubiano; the officers and members of the International Conference of Information Commissioners; my fellow workers in government; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen, good morning.
It is with great pride and delight that I welcome our distinguished guests and participants to this 14th Edition of the International Conference of Information Commissioners (ICIC).
Our special greetings go to those who are visiting the Philippines for the first time. We hope that your stay with us will be pleasant and has been pleasant thus far. We will do all that we can to make sure that your visit here will be a memorable one.
We are very honored not only to have been selected as the host for this year’s event. It is also a great distinction to be the first Southeast Asian nation to become part of the ICIC, and a founding member of Asia’s network of Access to Information Bodies.
On behalf of the Filipino people, I congratulate the ICIC for all its efforts in advancing the people’s right to access information, and in fostering a conducive and inclusive atmosphere for the healthy exercise of this universal human right.
Through this important advocacy, it can be said that the ICIC is globally instrumental in promoting full human development, by shaping minds, by shaping our consciousness.
The Philippines stands in solidarity with the ICIC and the entire international community in this advocacy. As a nation with a robust democracy, we reaffirm our commitment to champion this basic human right. It remains indelibly etched in our fundamental law.
We value its potency to empower our people to make informed decisions to participate fully in the democratic process, and hold their representatives accountable without fear or apprehension.
In 2016, through an executive order, the right to access information was further emphasized through the People’s Freedom of Information (FOI) Program.
By establishing clear and balanced parameters, the Program has promoted further transparency in government transactions and full accountability of our officials, especially those in the executive branch.
Needless to say, it has become a platform to facilitate efficient delivery of basic services to our people.
In recent years, the FOI Program has leveraged available technology and digital platforms to be of greater service to our people.
But we are pressing forward in our efforts to promote our people’s twin rights to information and to good governance.
We have placed these principles at the very core of our Philippine Development Plan for the next six years.
Notably, our FOI Program serves as the basis for the E-Governance initiative, which is among this Administration’s high priorities. The initiative advocates for the streamlining and digitalization of the key services of various government offices and local government units, and this seeks to consolidate the access to information by our citizenry.
We work with our legislative branch for the enactment of an E-Governance law so as to provide a stronger mandate and a broader reach.
Of course, we also have to highlight that the FOI Program has greatly advanced the campaign against misinformation and disinformation in the country. A problem that we in the Philippines also suffer from as I guess all of us do around the world.
Like everyone here, we too recognize as a matter of principle that fake news should have no place in modern society.
And as part of our efforts, we will undertake a Media and Information Literacy Campaign, which shall be digital, multi-media, and youth-oriented.
Our people can be assured of the continued implementation of the FOI Program in the Executive Branch, through the Presidential Communications Office.
At this juncture, I reiterate our call not only to the executive branch, but to all branches of government, to genuinely uphold and give effect to the people’s freedom of information in the course of our day-to-day operations, with good faith and with openness.
Undeniably, this is to our best interest as a nation. It is a key to our pursuit of good governance, improved public services, and a more progressive and sustainable society.
We wish ICIC the very best in its advocacies and efforts across the globe. We share the belief that the efforts that you make that makes the world a truly inclusive, just, and simply a better place to live in.
Beyond this event, the ICIC can be assured that the Philippines will continue to promote Freedom of Information. With a whole-of- nation approach, we will strive to maintain a government that is not only effective and efficient, but also transparent and accountable to our people.
I hope that you will all find your stay here in the Philippines meaningful and memorable. More importantly, I wish for the success and the lasting, positive impact of this event, and its succeeding editions!
Mabuhay ang ICIC! Mabuhay ang karapatan ng sangkatauhan sa malayang impormasyon!
Maraming salamat at magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat! [applause]
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SOURCE: PCO-PND (Presidential News Desk)