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In 2016, Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order No. 2 – the Freedom of Information (FOI) order, which operationalizes the people’s right to information and state policies to public disclosure and transparency in public service.
The Philippine Government and the World Bank selected Symph as their partner to build the Electronic Freedom of Information (eFOI) website, the digital platform that provides a convenient way for requestors of information as well as government offices to interact with each other. The site launched in November 2016, with 15 pilot government agencies and by 2017, all National Government Agencies (NGA’s) were required by the PCOO to enroll in this eFOI portal.
The Philippine government and the World Bank approached Symph with the idea of digitizing the process of the exchange of information (between the Filipino citizens and the government agencies). With this concept, we took the idea, worked together with these offices to understand the needs and build the system, and crafted the Electronic Freedom of Information (eFOI) website.
Through a series of interactive workshops, we collaborated with colleagues within the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), the World Bank, and various government agencies to create the process that would guide Freedom of Information requests, which we then translated into the digital platform. We also took inspiration from how other countries are systematizing the FOI and used those examples as guides for what we should include.
Every Filipino should be able to use timely and relevant government information for igniting necessary change in the nation. The eFOI website publishes successful requests made available by participating government agencies so other users can also view and use these documents.
Requesting necessary public documents does not have to be a complicated process for the Filipino citizens. With the eFOI platform, we made the whole request process accessible online. All the user has to do is fill out necessary information and send the request.
Users will never be left un-updated about their requests because by creating an account in the eFOI website, they will see a dashboard of their FOI requests, and the statuses of these requests.
The (eFOI) portal has never been down and is very reliable. Both the public and government agencies appreciate how the interface is very user-friendly. Symph’s team has provided great help before, during, and even post-launch—making it very easy to solve any issues quickly.
Michelle Arianne M. Manza FOI Engagement Lead, PCOO