Transforming Transparency: Digitalizing Access to Information, Embracing Glocalization, and Sustaining a Culture of Openness

Seven (7) years after the historic signing and implementation of Executive Order No. 2, s. 2016, the Freedom of Information-Program Management Office (FOI-PMO) continues to strive to map the trajectory and cement the thrust of access to information practice towards promoting transparency and accountability in the government through Freedom of Information (FOI).

Under the Presidential Communications Office (PCO), the FOI Program is presented with an opportunity to reintegrate and revitalize its access to information mechanisms anchored on the PCO’s mandate to serve as the premier communications arm of the Executive Branch. This further enables the FOI-PMO to engage and involve the citizenry in public governance and all matters of public concern.

As a way to constantly streamline the innovative developments in access to information and recognize and celebrate the FOI Program’s successes and challenges, the FOI-PMO will hold the in-person 2023 FOI Summit and Awards, with the central theme Transforming Transparency: Digitalizing Access to Information, Embracing Glocalization, and Sustaining a Culture of Openness, on November 20–24, 2023, in Metro Manila.

The FOI Summit is the annual convention of FOI Philippines’ staunch partners, champions, advocates, and practitioners from both local and international government and non-government sectors, which aims to inform the public about the developments in the implementation of the FOI Program. This is an avenue to continuously build and sustain communities of practice for accessing information mechanisms in the country.

On the other hand, the FOI Awards are an annual gathering of leading FOI practitioners and champions from the government and non-government sectors. This aims to recognize the critical contribution of key implementers in the overall implementation of the FOI Program.


  1. Reinvigorate FOI practice under the new administration and home office.
  2. Bundle up more strategic partners and key stakeholders to actively promote access to information.
  3. Sustain the continued support of staunch FOI champions from both government and non-government at the national and local levels.
  4. Provide an avenue for potential legislators supportive of championing the FOI Bill in the 19th Congress.
  5. Acquire new knowledge and learn about FOI implementation.
  6. Establish collaboration with even newer partners and stakeholders to increase engagement.
  7. Consolidate feedback, comments, suggestions, and recommendations to further improve the implementation of the FOI Program.

20 November: 2023 FOI SUMMIT

Lightning Talk 1: 4 FOI: Risks, Challenges, Trends, and Opportunities

Artificial intelligence (AI) has predominantly emerged as a transformative technology with significant implications for government operations and access to information (ATI). AI’s role in ATI is revolutionary by automating the processing, analysis, and dissemination of vast datasets. While AI offers numerous benefits for the government and ATI, it also raises concerns related to data privacy, data integrity and security, and the overall framework of access to information.

This session answers the following questions:

  • How has AI become a potential GovTech enhancement to public governance vis-à-vis the implementation of access to information in the Philippines?
  • How do predictive analytics and generative AI help identify trends and patterns within government data, aiding policymakers in making informed decisions vis-à-vis the implementation of access to information in the Philippines?
  • How should the government establish robust ethical and legal frameworks for intermarrying AI in public administration?
  • What are the critical risks, challenges, and opportunities in advancing access to information by utilizing AI?

Lightning Talk 2: eFOI Portal Version 2.0

The Electronic Freedom of Information (eFOI) Portal in the Philippines is an innovative digital platform to enhance transparency and facilitate citizens' access to government information.

Through a vital partnership with a key data science partner, the Asian Institute of Management (AIM), several advancements have been made to the portal, including but not limited to the application and implementation of the AI Recommender System, Time and Motion Study, Automated Personally Identifiable Information Redactor, and Topical and Thematic Modeling of Data and Information Requests.

This session answers the following questions:

  • What are the innovative features of the AI models applied to the portal?
  • How have the AI application tools improved users' (public) access to government information?
  • How have the AI application tools expanded implementers' (government) responsiveness to ensure that citizens receive timely, relevant, and accurate information?
  • What are the business and government values of such applications in continuously promoting the right to information?

Master Presentation 1: Access to Information for Developing Nations: A Response to Global Sustainability

Access to information is a critical factor in the development of nations and a key component of achieving global sustainability goals. In a world that is increasingly interconnected and driven by technology, access to information empowers individuals, communities, and governments to make informed decisions and take actions that can lead to sustainable development.

This session answers the following questions:

  • Why and how is ATI a global sustainable goal?
  • How does ATI facilitate global collaboration and the sustainability movement?
  • What policy developments are crucial in advancing ATI in developing nations such as the Philippines?
  • How will ATI transform developing nations into robust information hubs that are information system-oriented?
  • How will ATI address the digital divide between developing and growing nations?

Master Presentation 2: eGOV: Delivering the Right Information, Communicating the Government’s Dedication

The Department of Information and Communications Technology in the Philippines has been at the forefront of digital transformation efforts in the country. One of their key GovTech initiatives is the development and deployment of eGovernment (eGov) applications aimed at improving public services, enhancing government strategy, and fostering greater citizen engagement.

Attuned with the FOI Program's implementation of the eFOI Portal, the eGov provides the public with a centralized platform for various government services, which streamlines government processes, reduces bureaucracy, and improves government service delivery.

This session answers the following questions:

  • What is eGov?
  • What are the fundamental uses and features of the eGov portal and application?
  • How is eGov differentiated from eFOI, and how does it complement one another?
  • What are the security measures in place on the portal?
  • How does eGov cover a comprehensive service catalog in the Philippine government?
  • What would be the future developments in the portal?

Master Presentation 3: Introducing Participatory Governance Metrics Tool: Elevating the Philippines’ Democratic Space for Access to Information

The Participatory Governance Metrics (PGM), developed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is a valuable instrument for assessing and enhancing participatory governance in various countries, including the Philippines.

As a comprehensive framework, the tool is designed to help assess the extent to which citizens are actively engaged in decision-making, the responsiveness of government agencies, and the overall inclusivity and transparency of governance practices.

This session answers the following questions:

  • What are the key components and features of the PGM Tool?
  • What is the added value of the tool for the Philippine government?
  • How can government agencies deploy their own PGM tool?
  • What are some key findings of various agencies, such as the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Freedom of Information-Program Management Office, in their PGM tool deployment?

Panel Session 1: Regaining Trust, Improving Delivery of Public Service: Strengthening Institutional Trust through FOI

Government agencies in the Philippines have recognized the importance of transparency and accountability in fostering institutional trust among citizens. The Freedom of Information (FOI) Program, implemented in 2016, has played a pivotal role in achieving this goal.

By promoting transparency, accountability, citizen engagement, and data-driven decision-making, the FOI Program has not only improved governance but also enhanced public confidence in government institutions.

This session answers the following questions:

  • How has the FOI Program leveled the playing field among government agencies to gain public trust and improve their public services?
  • What systematic and transparent approaches are critical to streamlining FOI practices in various government agencies?
  • What steps can the government take to regain the public's trust and improve its delivery of public services?
  • What are the common issues with FOI requests being encountered by government agencies, and how are they addressed?

Panel Session 2: Re-strategizing Good Local Governance through FOI

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Program is a powerful tool that can be used to enhance local governance and promote transparency, accountability, and citizen participation at the grassroots level.

With 70 local government units (LGUs) that heeded the call to support access to information by enacting local FOI ordinances, good local governance in the Philippines is revitalized with genuine open localized government measures.

This session answers the following questions:

  • How has the FOI Program, through the passage of local FOI Ordinances, leveled the playing field for LGUs in embracing good local governance?
  • How can the national and local governments work together to foster a whole-of-government approach to opening the government more?
  • How can the government, non-government, and business groups harmonize FOI practices for the better?
  • What are the government's values for partnerships with international and non-governmental organizations in implementing the FOI Program?
  • What are the challenges and future directions of localized FOI in the Philippines?
  • What sustainability features can be achieved by localizing the FOI program?

Info-Session 1: Transformative Governance in the Philippines: Holding the Government Transparent and Accountable in the Digital Age

Transparent and accountable government in the digital age.

Driven by digitalization and transparency initiatives, a transformative approach to governance is vital for fostering a more responsive and efficient government.

This session answers:

  • How the government can be more open, transparent, and accountable in the digital age
  • How CSOs can make government more open
  • What opportunities are set forth between and among the government, non-government, and the public in mechanizing transformative governance in the Philippines?
  • How FOI Practice can be re-integrated in government practices under the new administration

Info-Session 2: Using Access to Information for Safer, Transparent, and Accountable Elections: Highlights of 2023 Local Elections and Abuse of State Resources (ASR) Monitoring Initiative

The Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) electoral monitoring campaigning and report provide a concise overview of the Abuse of State Resources (ASR) monitoring initiative and its role in promoting fairness and transparency in the recently held 2023 barangay and SK elections.

This initiative aims to safeguard the integrity of the electoral process by monitoring and addressing the misuse of state resources during election campaigns.

This session answers:

  • What are the objectives and key findings of the ASR monitoring initiative and the trends of the recent 2023 barangay and SK elections?
  • How ATI has become a driving tool in advocating for safer and more transparent elections in the Philippines
  • How ATI has enhanced the prevention of election malpractice and increased transparency regarding campaign financing
  • Why ATI is an election tool for the public

Info-Session 3: Advancing Media Information Literacy (MIL) in the Philippine Government

As the flagship program of the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) under the Marcos Administration, it is an essential step to promote digital integrity in the country. While challenges exist, ongoing efforts, collaboration, and public awareness campaigns are paving the way for a more MIL-aware Philippines.

This session answers:

  • Why MIL is important
  • What the MIL framework is and its development being advanced by PCO
  • How will MIL be integrated into education?
  • What training for public officials on MIL will be implemented and cascaded across the bureaucracy?
  • What public awareness campaigns are initiated by the PCO to support the MIL program?
  • What partnerships with media organizations are in place to promote responsible journalism and fact-checking?
  • How are CSOs actively involved in advocating for MIL and holding the government accountable?
  • What international support is being explored by PCO to bolster its MIL efforts?
  • What are the current challenges to the implementation of MIL, and how does the agency intend to address them?