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16 April 2021 – Makati Business Club and the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE),  along with the Legal Management Council of the Philippines, recently held the “FYI on FOI Workshop” for executives and corporate lawyers. The participants represent companies from the construction, manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries, as well as civil society organizations.

Dr. Francisco Magno, Founding Director of De La Salle University Jesse M. Robredo Institute of Governance, facilitated the workshop. He talked about how passing an FOI Law creates a level playing field for businesses and boosts business confidence in making investments. Dr. Magno also talked about the types of information businesses can request from the government, such as city-level business competitiveness rankings and licensing processes. He stressed that in other countries, like the US, businesses remain the biggest user of FOI. Presidential Communications Operations Office Undersecretary Kris Ablan followed by walking participants through the process of requesting information using the eFOI portal. 

The participants agreed that better access to public data allows the private sector to respond faster to the needs of the market. However, business leaders were concerned about publicizing confidential trade and financial-related information submitted to the government in bids for public projects and PPPs. 

Dr. Magno emphasized that transparency is not an end in itself — it builds opportunities for accountability and good governance while supporting business needs. Pushing for an FOI Law will not only benefit one sector, but will build a stronger nation where information can be beneficial to anyone, from any background.