Information is abundant these days. As a matter of fact, it’s just so abundant that it’s hard to gather, let alone trust, information. You need to know where to get information that actually matters.
During the March 5 huddle of CCDPh, Attorney Ting showed us how to get information that matters. She showed us how to use the Freedom of Information tool that can give us the right kind of information that we need these days. Watch the videos below to learn more about the Freedom of Information tool and learn how you can use it.
Freedom Of Information Is A Legal Tool
Attorney Ting states:
As you saw earlier this evening … Mari showed the Pfizer data. That’s data from Pfizer itself that they have been trying to keep the past two years, which they have been attempting to keep for 55 more years. So now, we know why.
I wish to point out that data was obtained via a legal tool called freedom of information in the U.S.A. There was a non … profit organization that filed for an FOI request. Was of course denied by the FDA but they went to court.
It’s for that reason that the organization was able to get a court order that compelled Pfizer to comply. The good news is that we also have the same tool here in the Philippines.
According to Attorney Ting:
We also have the same legal tool in the Philippines. We have the Freedom of Information legal tool here.
What Exactly Is The Freedom Of Information Tool?
Attorney Tings explains the Freedom of Information.
Freedom of Information tool is actually based on the constitution. In the 1987 Constitution, our government, our state, adopted a policy of full public disclosure of transactions. It also gave us, the right of the people to information on matters of public concern.
We Have The Right To Know
We have the right to know what’s going on. We have the right to know why the government is adopting such policies. After all, we taxpayers, aren’t we?
According to Attorney Ting:
When the President assumed office in 2016, this is one of the very first Executive Orders he issued, E.O. No. 2.
Here’s How You Can File An Electronic FOI Request
Below are the simple steps you can follow to file an electronic FOI request:
- Go to https://www.foi.gov.ph/help
- Take a look at the FAQs to find out who may request, what kind of information may be requested, and how to go about it.
- Create an account. You will need a valid email address and an ID upload.
- Browse the various agencies (national government, state universities and colleges, GOCCs, LGUs, Law enforcement, and water districts)
Types Of Data Available
Below are the types of data you can gather from the Freedom Of Information tool:
- Contracts of DOH and LGUs (e.g.: COVID-19 vaccine supply contracts with manufacturers and deeds of donation by pharma companies to the National Government and LGUs)
- Data on COVID-19 infections and hospitalization from DOH and LGUs (within specific or given periods and COVID admissions in government hospitals)
These are just examples of the kind of data you can gather from the Freedom of Information tool. Attorney Ting just gave some examples to jumpstart your knowledge on the said tool.
Attorney Tings states:
You have this tool. Please use it. Maximize it. You’re paying for this. If you’re paying your taxes, you’re paying for this facility. Please use it … Let’s use it responsibly.
Become A Legal Researcher
Knowledge is power. It will give you the confidence to stand your ground. With the right knowledge, you can also help the legal team.
Once you are able to gather information, you can email it to the legal team. More information will soon be provided for you. So stay tuned.
In the meantime, make sure to watch all the videos.
Featured image courtesy of Pexels