The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) was awarded as Freedom of Information (FOI) Champion second runner up (for agencies/bureaus/commissions/councils award) during the 4th annual Freedom of Information (FOI) Awards held by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).
In a virtual ceremony held on November 25, CHED Chairman J. Prospero E. De Vera accepted the award from PCOO Secretary Jose Ruperto Martin Andanar and FOI Program Director Assistant Secretary Kris Ablan. This award recognizes significant strides of government agencies in upholding the public’s right to information.
“On behalf of the Commission on Higher Education, it is my honor and privilege to accept this award for CHED as a Freedom of Information Champion for 2020. This gives us an additional inspiration to work harder in ensuring freedom of information is fully implemented in CHED and in state universities and colleges. And equally important, that it is in the consciousness of more people especially students and the broader academic community,” De Vera said.
De Vera said that promoting FOI in higher education is particularly challenging given the diverse stakeholders, the close to four hundred (400) campuses of public universities scattered across the archipelago, and the huge number of students (more than 3 million) enrolled in public and private universities.
“CHED will continue to support PCOO and the whole of government in promoting the institutionalization of freedom of information not only in terms of institutional compliance but also in ensuring that students become aware of the power of knowledge derived from information available from agencies of government,” De Vera added.
De Vera thanked President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, for promising freedom of information in the executive branch pending legislation in Congress. This is a promise that he fulfilled with the issuance of Executive Order No. 2, s. 2016 institutionalizing FOI in the executive branch.
“We take this commitment of the President seriously. When I assumed as Chairman of the Commission, we made sure that CHED supported the initiatives to ensure the institutionalization of FOI in our offices and in state universities and colleges,” De Vera said.
The FOI Awards is an annual event which aims to recognize the remarkable contributions of government offices in the executive branch, including government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs), state universities and colleges (SUCs), and local water districts (LWDs), to the development and progress of the PCOO’s FOI program.
J. PROSPERO E. DE VERA III, DPA
Commission on Higher Education