In a bid to uphold the principles of transparency, accountability, and active participation in the academic community, the Office of the Secretary of the University and the University Records Office (OSU-URO) organized a Freedom of Information (FOI) Orientation and Consultation (FOC) last December 21, 2023, at the University Social Hall, Obrero Campus, from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
The session served as a cornerstone of the University’s commitment to fostering a culture of openness. This initiative equipped University FOI Officers and Secretariat, Campus Public Information Officers (PIO), QMS Document Control Custodians, and selected student leaders with a comprehensive understanding of the FOI Program, including its benefits and significance in the context of State Universities and Colleges (SUCs).
The hybrid setup of the event allowed for both face-to-face involvement from the participants and virtual engagement via Zoom of the resource speakers. In his welcome remarks, University President Dr. Bonifacio G. Gabales, Jr. set the tone for the session. His emphasis on the importance of access to information solidified the University’s commitment to transparency and the sharing of knowledge, aligning with the mandate of the FOI.
The session featured distinguished speakers from the FOI Project Management Office, starting with Mr. John Wilmer Jimenez, Project Development Officer of the Communications and Capacity Development Division, who delved into the Freedom of Information Program. Mr. Jimenez discussed Executive Order No. 2, s. 2016 on the people’s right to information, highlighting the order’s provisions, historical context, and broader implications for transparency and information access.
Ms. Patricia Marri Maranan, Project Development Officer of the Communications and Capacity Development Division, shed light on FOI requirements and compliance, focusing on a detailed explanation of the legal and procedural aspects related to accessing information.
Mr. Francis Nicolai P. Pallada, Information and Communications Technology Officer at the Office of the President of the Republic of the Philippines – Philippine Communications Office (PCO), provided guidance in navigating the Electronic FOI Portal, covering the advancements and innovations in making information accessible through digital platforms.
The orientation and consultation session concluded with closing remarks from Dr. Tamara Cher R. Mercado, Vice President for Planning and Quality Assurance, who underscored how the insights gained from the FOI Program contribute significantly to the academic environment, enabling more informed and accountable decision-making processes.
The FOI Orientation and Consultation initiative reaffirmed the University’s dedication to fostering openness and equipped its personnel with the essential tools for implementing the FOI Program effectively. This dual impact highlights a significant stride toward a more transparent and informed academic community, aligning the University with its principles of accountability and accessibility in access to information.