Through Ordinance 2021-014 (The Freedom of Information Ordinance of Naga City), citizens of Naga are armed with a mechanism through which they can request for information and file any complaint.
It grants every Filipino resident of Naga access to “information, official records, public records and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions or decisions, as well as to government research data used as the basis for policy development, in the custody of the City Government of Naga or any of its offices (Section 4).
This page provides highlights/summary of the Ordinance.
The Office of the City Administrator is the FOI Coordinating Office and Integrating Complaints Mechanism Unit in the City of Naga. Each office or department in under the city government will designate a Deputy Information/Receiving Officer, who will coordinate with the Office of the City Administrator and provide the requested records from their office.
The Office of the City Vice Mayor is the Coordinating Office for the Legislative Branch.
- The requesting party submits a written request to the Office of the City Administrator (OCA).
- Request should contain
- the name and contact information of the requesting party (with valid proof of his identification or authorization
- Description of the requested information
- Purpose of the request
- Request should contain
- A person unable to make the written request due to illiteracy or due to being a person with a disability (PWD) may make an oral request.
- The public official receiving the request shall put the request in writing (including his name and position in government).
- The request is recorded and a copy is given to the requesting party.
- The Office of the City Administrator in coordination with the concerned government office/department will respond as soon as practicable but not longer than five (5) working days from receiving the request. Should an extension be needed, the OCA will notify the requesting party of the extension and the reason for it.
Fees (to be paid to the City Treasurer’s Office at the time of the request):
- No charge will be obtaining information in digital format.
- For printing, photocopying and certification the following schedule of fees is imposed:
- Certification of Official Records – P50.00 page for the first copy and 5.00/page for succeeding copies
- Printing -P5.00/page
- Photocopying – P3.00/page (long); P2.00/page (short)
Section 11 of the ordinance says: “FOI shall be denied when the information falls under any of the exceptions enshrined in the Constitution, existing law or jurisprudence.”
Exceptions to the freedom of information rule are also stated in the November 24, 2016 memorandum issued by the Office of the Executive Secretary.
The memo enumerates at least seven:
- Privileged information relating to national security, defense, or international relations;
- Information concerning law enforcement and protection of public and personal safety (confidential information of the Naga City Police Office, Public Safety Office, and other local government agencies related to acts of terrorism, drugs, human trafficking, firearms smuggling and the like);
- Information deemed confidential for the protection of the privacy of persons including minors who are victims of crimes or the accused;
- Information, documents, or records known by reason of official capacity and are deemed as confidential, including those submitted or disclosed by entities to government agencies, tribunals, boards, or officers, in relation to the performance of their functions or to inquiries or investigations conducted by them in the exercise of their administrative, regulatory, or quasi-judicial powers;
- Prejudicial premature disclosure;
- Records of proceedings or information from proceedings which, pursuant to law or relevant rules and regulations, are treated as confidential or privileged;
- Matters that are considered confidential under banking and finance laws and other amendatory laws.
Denial and Remedies
Under the Ordinance, the Office of the City Administrator, the designated FOI Coordinating Office and Integrating Complaints Mechanism Unit, shall as soon as practicable, in any case within 15 working days from receipt of the request, notify in writing the requesting party should the request be denied.
The notice shall clearly set forth the ground(s) for denial and the circumstances on which the denial is based. Right to information will obviously be denied if the application is fictitious or not legitimate, done out of pure curiosity, for commercial purposes, contrary to laws, morals, good customs, or public policy, and has evident improper motive.
The ordinance also bears remedies for denial of requests for access to information, such as:
- Filing of an appeal to the Office of the City Mayor. Provided, that the written appeal must be filed by the same person who made the request within 3 working days from the notice of the denial or from the lapse of the relevant period to respond to the request.
- The appeal shall be decided by the Office of the City Mayor within 5 working days from the filing of the written appeal. Failure of the OCM to decide within the afore-stated period shall be deemed a denial of the appeal.
- In case of legislative records that were presented to or belonging to the Sangguniang Panlungsod or any of its committees, the appeal must be requested from the Office of the City Vice Mayor within 3 working days.
- Upon exhaustion of administrative appeal remedies, the requesting party may file the appropriate case in the proper court in accordance with the Rules of the Court.
Failure of any government officer to comply with the provisions of the ordinance shall be a ground for the following penalties: 1st offense, reprimand; 2nd offense, suspension of 1 to 30 days, and 3rd offense, dismissal from service.
However, mere denial will not be a ground for liability. A mere denial in good faith of a request made pursuant to the provisions of the ordinance shall not constitute grounds for the penalties.
- Freedom of Information Philippines https://www.foi.gov.ph/
- Naga City iGovernance Ordinance (PDF)
- Seal of Good Governance Act