By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Himamaylan City Mayor Rogelio Tongson, Jr. has recently signed an ordinance allowing the city’s residents easier access to local government documents.
The Ordinance Operationalizing Freedom of Information in the City Government of Himamaylan was signed last November 22.
The measure, which was authored by Vice Mayor Justin Gatuslao, was passed by the Sangguniang Panlungsod on October 25 and the copy of the ordinance was made public on November 28.
According to Gatuslao, the ordinance enshrines transparency, public disclosure and open records as city policies to “take effective measures toward good governance, a higher level of public accountability, and the empowerment of the city’s residents.”
The ordinance orders all city government offices to allow the city’s residents access to public records and guarantees their right to publish or disseminate the same. It also details the procedure for requests of information and mandates the publication of a “People’s Right to Information Manual.”
According to the records of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, the agency tasked with localizing the transparency initiative, Himamaylan City is the first local government unit in Negros Occidental to pass a Freedom of Information Ordinance./DGB, WDJ