UPDATED Law on Mass Media Rt of Access to Info of Public Concern (4th Exercise: PROFESSIONALIZING THE PRACTICE)

Law on Mass Media Right of Access to Information on matters of Public Concern (4th Exercise: PROFESSIONALIZING THE PRACTICE) (Deadline: Wednesday Sept. 12 at 5pm)

UPDATED today Sept. 10: Notes on the Fourth Bonus as described below: For Law on Mass Media students: FOR THE FOURTH BONUS: Since you are taking up Law on Mass Media in this section and have been provided with sufficient discussion on specific rights and duties as laid down in the Constitution and statutory provisions, you need to illustrate through this exercise that you know how to apply what you learned. Generalities (such as “rights under the law” or “human rights violations” are too vague for a student taking up Law on Mass Media in this section.) Failure to specify the constitutional and statutory provisions as basis of your answer will result in a score of zero. Second, the letter-request or demand letter should state that it is being made in order that the party requesting would not be compelled to resort to administrative, civil, and criminal remedies etc. (If your request is denied, you would need to send a more strongly worded demand letter, if you have no lawyer or no access to legal assistance, you would need to consult textbooks on Remedies and Legal Forms to see the template.). Finally, please check your grammar and syntax not for anything else, pero para hindi kayo pagtawanan sa sinulat nyo; maaari ring isulat sa Filipino o Pilipino kung mas kumportable kayo rito.
Thank you for your work in this class. -marichu

Please illustrate the right of access to information on matters of public concern: Choose a news report or news report from July 1 to the present date that is based on the use of information contained in public records or  a news event which involves public records or the use of information contained in public records, for example:
1)The storification of government transactions/ use of public funds/ procurement of equipment/ government infrastructure/ government action/ government contracts/ etc. all based on public records
or …
2)The storification of data/ big data/ research data/ statistics/ records or documents from any government agency
For the Bonus Post: The Bonus Post has been expanded: Write a simple 5-paragraph letter-request / demand letter addressed to the head of a government agency of the executive branch or any of its division or offices, asking for access to specific public records not available in the e-FOI website https://www.foi.gov.ph/ . In your letter-request/ demand letter, you may follow this outline: 1.state the name of the addressee and the government agency; 2.state the name of your publication/ site/ organization/ office; 3.state the function of your office/ mandate of your organization; 3.state your purpose; 4.state your business: What records do you need to view and access, and for what purpose; SPECIFY WHAT DOCUMENTS YOU NEED TO VIEW (if you fail to specify, the score is zero) 5.state your legal basis (the constitutional provision discussed in class and provisions of the FOI Executive Order); 6.give a deadline or state the number of days after which you will be compelled to avail of the remedies provided by law.
Make sure that the records you seek to access and view are not available in https://www.foi.gov.ph/ otherwise you will get zero for this exercise.

     You will find this exercise useful in your actual practice of the profession.

   Happy professionalizing!

photo by blog admin: from the archives

16 thoughts on “UPDATED Law on Mass Media Rt of Access to Info of Public Concern (4th Exercise: PROFESSIONALIZING THE PRACTICE)

  1. FOURTH REGULAR POST:

    https://news.abs-cbn.com/business/07/09/18/ph-to-borrow-p119-t-to-finance-next-years-budget

    “MANILA – The Philippine government said on Monday it plans to borrow up to P1.19 trillion ($22.3 billion) to partly finance next year’s budget, with a quarter of that expected to be met from external sources.”

    According to this article, the government plans to borrow around Php294 billion coming from external sources and raise Php891 billion from the local market as it plans to continue its economic projects for the country. This was shared by National Treasurer, Rosalia de Leon. In this case, this means that all of us will be affected as we, the taxpayers, are the ones that will contribute to this national budget.

    In our discussion, the right to access public records has two conditions: First, no law declares it confidential and second, it is a matter of public concern. For the first condition, there is no law that says that the national budget should be hidden from the public. It is important that they know how much the government wants to spend for the year, where they’ll take it from and for what reason they’ll use it on. This is precisely because of the second reason that states that it is a matter of public concern because it affects all Filipinos. It affects us because we will be the ones contributing to this budget as well as pay off these loans we’ll have. It also affects us because we’ll be the ones that will either benefit from these projects or not in the long run.

    Overall, I think it is right that they shared this big and important news to the public because we have the right to know these concerns. It also gives us the space to question, to express our grievances or possibly show support to this move by the government.

  2. FOURTH REGULAR POST:

    Link: https://news.abs-cbn.com/business/07/09/18/ph-to-borrow-p119-t-to-finance-next-years-budget

    “MANILA – The Philippine government said on Monday it plans to borrow up to P1.19 trillion ($22.3 billion) to partly finance next year’s budget, with a quarter of that expected to be met from external sources.”

    According to this article, the government plans to borrow around Php294 billion coming from external sources and raise Php891 billion from the local market as it plans to continue its economic projects for the country. This was shared by National Treasurer, Rosalia de Leon. In this case, this means that all of us will be affected as we, the taxpayers, are the ones that will contribute to this national budget.

    In our discussion, the right to access public records has two conditions: First, no law declares it confidential and second, it is a matter of public concern. For the first condition, there is no law that says that the national budget should be hidden from the public. It is important that they know how much the government wants to spend for the year, where they’ll take it from and for what reason they’ll use it on. This is precisely because of the second reason that states that it is a matter of public concern because it affects all Filipinos. It affects us because we will be the ones contributing to this budget as well as pay off these loans we’ll have. It also affects us because we’ll be the ones that will either benefit from these projects or not in the long run.

    Overall, I think it is right that they shared this big and important news to the public because we have the right to know these concerns. It also gives us the space to question, to express our grievances or possibly show support to this move by the government.

  3. Virginia N. Orogo
    DSWD Secretary
    Department of Social Welfare and Development
    Batasan Complex, Batasan Hills, Quezon City

    September 8, 2018

    Good day!

    I am Xaika Nadine A. Saldivar, a journalist under the online publication, Sa Atong Panahon. Our publication is focused on sharing news in all local languages in the country.

    We focus on issues that are not much talked about or explored through mainstream media. Our mandate is to seek the truth in all facets of our society, especially those that are not much heard of. We have themes and segments that we feature throughout a whole month aside from the news that we publish every day.

    For our segment next month, we will be focusing on the youth and the rising growth of teenage pregnancy and children under foster care. Thus we would like to ask your data on the following: (1) the number of teenage pregnancies per region in the Philippines with data on their social class and age in the last five years, (2) the percentage of recorded abortions by teenagers per region in the last five years, and (3) the number of foster homes in the country with the average number of children and their ages found in these homes.

    According to the law, we have the right to know these public records as there is no constitutional law hindering us so, and it is a matter of public concern. This is important as the youth are the future of our society. It is then vital to know about this issue and share it to the wider public in order for them to know the graveness or lack thereof of this impending problem in the country.

    If possible, we would like to have these data in two weeks time or by September 24, 2018. Thank you very much for your kind consideration!

    Sincerely,
    Xaika Nadine A. Saldivar
    Journalist
    Sa Atong Panahon

  4. FOURTH BONUS POST:

    Virginia N. Orogo
    DSWD Secretary
    Department of Social Welfare and Development
    Batasan Complex, Batasan Hills, Quezon City

    September 8, 2018

    Good day!

    I am Xaika Nadine A. Saldivar, a journalist under the online publication, Sa Atong Panahon. Our publication is focused on sharing news in all local languages in the country.

    We focus on issues that are not much talked about or explored through mainstream media. Our mandate is to seek the truth in all facets of our society, especially those that are not much heard of. We have themes and segments that we feature throughout a whole month aside from the news that we publish every day.

    For our segment next month, we will be focusing on the youth and the rising growth of teenage pregnancy and children under foster care. Thus we would like to ask your data on the following: (1) the number of teenage pregnancies per region in the Philippines with data on their social class and age in the last five years, (2) the percentage of recorded abortions by teenagers per region in the last five years, and (3) the number of foster homes in the country with the average number of children and their ages found in these homes.

    According to the law, we have the right to know these public records as there is no constitutional law hindering us so, and it is a matter of public concern. This is important as the youth are the future of our society. It is then vital to know about this issue and share it to the wider public in order for them to know the graveness or lack thereof of this impending problem in the country.

    If possible, we would like to have these data in two weeks time or by September 24, 2018. Thank you very much for your kind consideration!

    Sincerely,
    Xaika Nadine A. Saldivar
    Journalist
    Sa Atong Panahon

  5. FOURTH BONUS POST (FINAL):

    PLEASE DISREGARD PREVIOUS POST!!!! THIS WILL BE MY FOURTH BONUS POST!

    Virginia N. Orogo
    DSWD Secretary
    Department of Social Welfare and Development
    Batasan Complex, Batasan Hills, Quezon City

    September 8, 2018

    Good day!

    I am Xaika Nadine A. Saldivar, a journalist under the online publication, Sa Atong Panahon. Our publication is focused on sharing news in all local languages in the country.

    We focus on issues that are not much talked about or explored through mainstream media. Our mandate is to seek the truth in all facets of our society, especially those that are not much heard of. We have themes and segments that we feature throughout a whole month aside from the news that we publish every day.

    For our segment next month, we will be focusing on the youth and the rising growth of teenage pregnancy and children under foster care. Thus we would like to ask your data on the following: (1) the number of teenage pregnancies per region in the Philippines with data on their social class and age in the last five years, (2) the percentage of recorded abortions by teenagers per region in the last five years, and (3) the number of foster homes in the country with the average number of children and their ages found in these homes.

    According to the law, we have the right to know these public records as there is no constitutional law hindering us so, and it is a matter of public concern. This is important as the youth are the future of our society. It is then vital to know about this issue and share it to the wider public in order for them to know the graveness or lack thereof of this impending problem in the country.

    If possible, we would like to have these data in two weeks time or by September 24, 2018. You may contact me through email: atongpanahon@gmail.com or through text message: 09171234567. Thank you very much for your kind consideration!

    Sincerely,
    Xaika Nadine A. Saldivar
    Journalist
    Sa Atong Panahon

  6. Thank you for your posts 🙂 You can still tweak this before the deadline (this will help you when you practise your profession later on) —
    For Law on Mass Media students: FOR THE FOURTH BONUS: Since you are taking up Law on Mass Media in this section and have been provided with sufficient discussion on specific rights and duties as laid down in the Constitution and statutory provisions, you need to illustrate thru this exercise that you know how to apply what you learned. Generalities such as “rights under the law” or “human rights violations” are too vague for a student taking up Law on Mass Media in this section. Failure to specify the constitutional and statutory provisions as basis of your answer will result in a score of zero. Second, the letter-request or demand letter should state that it is being made in order that the party requesting would not be compelled to resort to administrative, civil, and criminal remedies etc. (If your request is denied, you would need to send a more strongly worded demand letter and to prepare your appeals… if you have no lawyer or no access to legal assistance, consult textbooks on Remedies and Legal Forms to see the template.). Finally, please check your grammar and syntax not for anything else, pero para hindi pagtawanan sa sinulat– maaari ring isulat sa Filipino o Pilipino kung mas kumportable kayo rito.
    Thank you for your work in this class. -marichu

  7. 4th week paper

    https://www.rappler.com/business/211220-philippine-government-spending-july-2018

    Aika Rey

    MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government has reached its peak on spending, with disbursements amounting to P328.1 billion in July or a 34% increase from the same period in 2017.

    The country has reached a new level of spending as it has reached a 12 digit mark of more than 300 billion pesos. It’s an usual amount pf spending that has escalated from last years spending according to the DBM. A bulk of the spending has come from infrastructure and maintenance rich rose to almost 50% from the last year. Another bulk also comes from subsidies from government corporations.

    It is the right of the people to be able to access such information to know all of the transactions that happen within the government. We can see that there is a significant rise of spending and we can now assess what must be done for this to be controlled. If we had no access to such information the government could’ve just kept on spending more than what has already presented to be a giant leap in spendings.

  8. FOURTH REGULAR POST:

    COA wants raps vs contractor picked by NHA for P654-M Yolanda housing
    Published September 11, 2018, 4:57 PM
    By Ben Rosario

    https://news.mb.com.ph/2018/09/11/coa-wants-raps-vs-contractor-picked-by-nha-for-p654-m-yolanda-housing/

    “The Commission on Audit (COA) has asked the National Housing Authority (NHA) to file criminal and administrative charges against a contractor and NHA personnel involved in irregularities in the development of a P654.59-million housing project for victims of super typhoon “Yolanda” in Eastern Samar.”

    The news article states that the Commission of Audit wants the National Housing authority to file administrative and criminal charges against those involved in a housing project for the victims of typhoon Yolanda in Eastern Samar. Irregularities were proven through the 2017 audit report for the NHA made by COA, where in this unnamed contractor was awarded eight housing projects that were beyond the firm’s capacity. According to them, there were violations on the procurement law and other regulations that sprung from awarding such contracts to unqualified contractors.

    This particular news article clearly illustrates how a matter of public concern was thoroughly explained through information from the Commission on Audit. They were able to explain irregularities by disclosing contract prices. Also, the information disclosed in the article does not fall under the exceptions under the Constitution.

  9. Fourth Regular Post

    Inflation surges to 6.4%, highest in 9 years
    https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/09/06/1849154/inflation-surges-64-highest-9-years

    “MANILA, Philippines — The country’s headline inflation hit a nine-year high in August, spiking by 6.4 percent year-on-year and registering higher annual inflation across a majority of regions, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed Tuesday.”

    This article is an example of storification of statistics from a government agency. Philippine Statistics Authority is the primary agency responsible for all national censuses and surveys. PSA studies and publishes statistical information on matters of public concern.

    The 6.4% inflation rate is a matter of public concern. Citizens deserve the right to access this information. According to Sec. 7 of the Bill of Rights, “The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.”

  10. FOURTH WEEK REGULAR POST

    Link: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/659764/dilg-s-p500-m-masa-masid-program-missed-objectives-coa-says/story/

    DILG’s P500-M Masa Masid program missed objectives, COA says
    The Department of Interior and Local Government’s community-based anti-corruption and anti-drug program missed its objectives as seen in the non-implementation of programmed activities and non-use of allocated funds, the Commission on Audit has said.

    By: JOSEPH TRISTAN ROXAS, GMA News
    Published July 9, 2018 7:10pm

    According to the COA audit, eight activities worth ₱145 million of the DILG’s Mamamayang Ayaw sa Anomalya, Mamayamang Ayaw sa Iligal na Droga or MASA MASID program was not implemented. A budget of more than ₱500 million for the MASA MASID program was given to DILG for 2017. State auditors also noted that two activities worth ₱93 million had no physical and financial report while only 1,333 out of the total 3,679 MASA MASID activities for barangay officers worth ₱34.837 million was implemented. The COA audit also included DILG’s transferring of funds worth ₱99.189 million to the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC), and Local Government Academy (LGA) for the implementation of various aspects of MASA MASID.

    The news report includes the access of public funds in that the storification of government transaction and the use, or non-utilization, of public funds was based on public records, specifically the COA audits. It is a matter of public concern seeing that the MASA MASID program’s objectives are to address problems on corruption, illegal drugs, criminality, and threats to peace and order down to the barangay levels. Non-implementation of program activities and non-utilization of funds would indicate that the programs objectives are not being met and, therefore, would affect the development of the communities to which the MASA MASID program is supposedly being carried out. The publication of such information aids in the public’s awareness of the government’s budget allocation and utilization.

  11. FOURTH REGULAR POST
    Link: https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/07/24/1836380/new-govt-boo-boo-foi-published-di-ko-alam-website-directory

    “MANILA, Philippines — An online website of the government found itself in another publication gaffe after an online user noticed the phrase “di ko alam” written on the Freedom of Information website’s directory.”

    One online user opened the Freedom of Information website’s Agency directory and noticed some of the numbers are listed as “Di ko alam”, “I don’t know” and “Di ko pa din alam”. The user sarcastically posted in his Twitter account the picture of the directory and said “Grabe talaga itong gobyerno ito, consistent everywhere.” The user presented a picture and a video to prove that the post was not altered in any way. The inconsistency of the website’s content was not only noticed once but twice since the publication errors last month. PCOO is the head agency of the FOI and they were criticize for many errors such as wrong names, grammatical errors and wrong usage of logos.

    Each of us has the right to information and to have the RIGHT information. FOI website was created for us citizens to freely access and request any records open to the public but that is hindered if the information we get is either wrong or missing. This is supported by Section VII of the Bill of rights which states the right of the people to information. Inconsistencies such as missing contact numbers or grammatically incorrect sentences can be a big issue as if the information is used for official documents then it would be invalid as that information would not exist. This issue should be resolved immediately as many citizens rely on the information that the government provides. Also, posting excuses such as “Di ko alam” or “I don’t know” for missing information are not acceptable as they have all the power to gain necessary information for each registered agency. Otherwise, this is a clear example of the government’s failure to provide consistent information to the citizens.

  12. 4TH WEEK REGULAR POST

    LINK: https://www.rappler.com/nation/211741-dswd-preparations-assistance-typhoon-mangkhut-september-2018

    MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) prepared P829.77 million worth of resources ahead of Typhoon Mangkhut’s entry into the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).

    In a statement on Tuesday, September 11, the DSWD said a total of 356,349 family food packs amounting to P118.95 million, as well as food and non-food items amounting to P710.83 million, have been prepositioned in all regions in preparation for the typhoon.

    I think that it is very important for the citizens to know where and how the budget would be allocated this is in relation to how people reacted to how the government allocated the fund in the time of typhoon Yolanda. It is also important for the budget allocation to be posted because it makes the government and the agency concerned accountable in times of the use of it.

  13. Fourth Exercise

    https://www.rappler.com/business/211273-top-10-contractors-build-build-build-programs-fraud-delays-records-pcij-report

    “MANILA, Philippines – The top 10 firms that bagged a total of P68.5 billion worth of contracts for the govenrment’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program has a history of fraud, corruption, and blacklisting.”

    The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) revealed that the ten firms that altogether bagged P68.5 billion worth of contracts for the govenrment’s “Build, Build, Build” project had questionable backgrounds. According to the report, the said contractors had history of being blacklisted and having unfinished or unsatisfactory work.

    This report illustrates the importance of having access to documents affecting public funds especially bidding documents and government contracts. Through the right of access, the media and even the people are able to investigate on anomalies and questionable practices done in the government especially when there are big projects that entail big spending of public funds from tax payers’ money. It also allows another layer of checking for conflict of interest with public officials among others.

  14. 4th Exercise

    Top 10 ‘Build, Build, Build’ contractors have records of fraud, delays – PCIJ

    https://www.rappler.com/business/211273-top-10-contractors-build-build-build-programs-fraud-delays-records-pcij-report

    MANILA, Philippines – The top 10 firms that bagged a total of P68.5 billion worth of contracts for the govenrment’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program has a history of fraud, corruption, and blacklisting.

    The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) revealed that the top contractors who bagged P68.5 billion in the biddings for the government’s “Build, Build, Build” project have questionable track records. According to the report, the said firms had history of fraud, delayed and unfinished projects, and even history of being blacklisted.

    This article shows us how important it is to have access to documents affecting public funds specifically bidding documents and government contracts given especially when the government takes on big projects that entail big spending. Through the right to access, the people can hold public officials accountable when there are anomalies with the use of the tax payers’ money and even conflict of interest.

  15. 4TH WEEK REGULAR POST

    Link: https://news.mb.com.ph/2018/09/01/coa-orders-rizal-provincial-govt-to-surrender-over-p107m-in-funds-to-botr/

    “The Commission on Audit has ordered the Rizal provincial government to surrender to the Bureau of Treasury (BOTr) over P107 million in funds that included the banned Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).”

    Aside from this, the 2017 annual audit report for the province also revealed a total of 107 unfinished infrastructure projects planned for the said year; 41 incomplete infrastructures costing P223.39 million, and 66 unimplemented projects costing P225.58 million. In response, the provincial government said it has prepared a disbursement voucher for the remittance of the unused PDAF balance. COA has since asked Gov. Rebecca Ynares to ensure close monitoring and implementation of infrastructure projects.

    This article reiterates the importance of access to public records as aside from knowing where public funds are allocated, it is also important to ensure that these projects exist and are implemented by local officials.

  16. FOURTH WEEK REGULAR POST – COA orders Binay Jr., et al. to return P45-M intel, confidential funds

    “The Commission on Audit (COA) has ordered former Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr. and three others to return to the government P45 million in intelligence and confidential funds (ICFs) that exceeded the allowable amount or lacked presidential approval.”

    In the article, COA issued two notices of disallowance to the aforementioned former government officials for exceeding the allowable ICF cap given to the city of Makati. Also, in 2013, P25 million was released in 2013 without the approval of then-president Benigno Aquino III.

    According to Art. III Sec. 7 of the Bill of Rights, “Section 7. The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.”

    This is an example of how freedom of information should be practiced. There should be clear transparency of the flow of public funds and other documents involving official acts that affect the public. Exceeding the set cap for intelligence and confidential funds should be properly reported to the public for irregular transactions.

    Links: https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1030505/coa-orders-binay-jr-et-al-to-return-p45-m-intel-confidential-funds

    http://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/constitutions/the-1987-constitution-of-the-republic-of-the-philippines/the-1987-constitution-of-the-republic-of-the-philippines-article-iii/

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