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Laws and regulations governing public records


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lecture presented by Fe Angela M. Verzosa at the Seminar-workshop on Archives and Records Management for Open Government sponsored by the Commission of Human Rights (CHR) in partnership with the International Council of Museums-Philippines (ICOM-Philippines), De La Salle University-Manila University Library, and the Philippine Association of Museums (PAMI) held on 22 May 2012 at the Commission on Human Rights, UP Diliman, Quezon City

Published in: Education

Laws and regulations governing public records

  1. 1. Laws and regulations governing Public Records By Fe Angela M. Verzosa Fe Angela M. VerzosaWhat are Public Records? While most of the Public records are records information filed under that are meant to be made the category of public records are made available to the public at available free of cost large on demand. on demand, some records might be provided upon paying a nominal fee. Fe Angela M. Verzosa
  2. 2. What Do Public Records Do? • Document actions, decisions, policies and procedures • Provide legal evidence • Audit trail • For accountability • Preserve corporate memory Fe Angela M. Verzosa Some exceptions . to making records public: Records that relate to national security, e.g. classified documents that the government may refuse to produce in court cases or for Congressional hearings, such as those dealing with military plans and diplomatic strategy.Records whose contents, if made public, couldinvade the privacy of an individual who has brokenno laws (personnel files, for instance, or income tax records) Records restricted for reason of public order and safety, such as Police and other records that relate to the investigation of a yet-unsolved crime , and records whose disclosure would endanger the life and safety of an individual Fe Angela M. Verzosa
  3. 3. Other limitations to public access NAP General Circular No. 1 (Jan 20, 2009) Fe Angela M. Verzosa Are records available to the public? [Countries ranked according to "YES" answers] Philippines 59% Thailand 56% Cambodia 44% Singapore 42% Malaysia 33% Indonesia 18% Vietnam 18% Burma 5%2001 survey on the accessibility to the public of 43 government-held records Fe Angela M. Verzosa
  4. 4. What factors affect public access to records?• Laws and legislations to guarantee access to information• Administrative and judicial remedies in case of nondisclosure by government• Culture of transparency• Information infrastructure (using technology to store, retrieve and disseminate information)• Poor state of recordkeeping• Strong and vigilant advocacy Fe Angela M. Verzosa RIGHT TO INFORMATION The constitutional right to information on matters of public concern first gained recognition in the Bill of Rights, Article IV, of the 1973 Constitution, which states: Sec. 6. 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, shall be afforded the citizen subject to such limitations as may be provided by law. Fe Angela M. Verzosa
  5. 5. RIGHT TO INFORMATIONThe foregoing provision has been retained and the righttherein provided amplified in Article III, Sec. 7 of the1987 Constitution with the addition of the phrase, "aswell as to government research data used as basisfor policy development." The new provision reads: 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. Fe Angela M. VerzosaRIGHT TO INFORMATION • In addition, the Constitution (Article 2 Section 28) mandates the State to adopt and implement “a policy of full disclosure of all transactions involving public interest.” • On top of the Constitution, Congress passed a law (Republic Act 6713) that provided a code of conduct for public officials which obliges the government to release information on other matters of public concern and compels public officials to disclose their assets and liabilities, among other duties. Fe Angela M. Verzosa
  6. 6. RIGHT TO INFORMATION11th Congress In June 2010, the 14th On February 3,(1998-2001), a Congress in the 2012, PresidentFreedom of House again failed to Noynoy AquinoInformation bill muster a quorum to transmitted apassed third ratify the Freedom of proposedreading in the Information (FOI) bill, substitute FreedomHouse of approved by 180 of Information billRepresentatives lawmakers, many of to administrationbut was never whom however, were coalition allies inacted upon by the not present for its the House ofSenate because of ratification. The bill Representatives.the Estrada had been pending in But it was not in hisimpeachment Congress for the last list of prioritytrial. nine years. measures.The Freedom of Information billmakes the constitutional right to know and the state policy of fulldisclosure of transactions involving public interest operable. Fe Angela M. Verzosa PNoy’s FOI version • Version expands access to financial information such as SALNs and access to other kinds of information by incorporating a provision making the posting/publication mandatory. • The public is spared from the tedious work of trying to access information from different agencies when the information is made available in one portal, the Official Gazette website ( • The bill asks government agencies to translate key information into major Filipino languages and present them in popular form and means.All government agencies are required to prepare a Freedom of Information Manual that will contain details and procedures and serve as a guide. Fe Angela M. Verzosa
  7. 7. National Archives of the PhilippinesRA 9470 –An Act to Strengthen the System of Management and Administration of Archival Records, Establishing for the Purpose the National Archives of the Philippines and for other Purposes• Approved on May 21, 2007• Contains 7 Articles and 50 Sections Fe Angela M. Verzosa National Archives mandate“All public records with enduring value, held by government offices, including, but not limited to, all branches of government, constitutional offices, local government units (LGUs), government-owned and - controlled corporations (GOCCs), state universities and colleges, Philippine embassies, consulates and other Philippine offices abroad shall be transferred to a permanent government repository for proper management, control and regulation of record disposition.” Art. 1, Section 2, REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9470 (May 2007) Fe Angela M. Verzosa
  8. 8. National Archives: Functions• Plan, formulate and implement a records management and archival administration program …including the adoption of security measures and vital records protection program for the government;• Give technical assistance to all branches of government in the planning, implementation and evaluation of their public records management and archives administration programs;• Conduct training programs on records and archives management• Keep a registry of all public records for public inspection Establish, maintain, operate regional archives and records centers and/or provide technical assistance to government agencies on the establishment of agency records centers. Fe Angela M. Verzosa National Archives: Management of Public Records (Art. 3) requires all government offices to: • establish their own archives and records office/unit in coordination with the DBM and the National Archives • be subject to registration and accreditation, a regular audit • regularly conduct an inventory of their public records • prepare and submit a records disposition schedule in the prescribed form based on the general records disposition schedule formulated by NAP prescribing the disposal of public records common to all government offices • obtain prior written authority of the executive director of NAP before disposal or destruction of any public records. Fe Angela M. Verzosa
  9. 9. Inventory of Public Records All government offices shall be mandated to keep the following data in their respective registry: • All public records under its custody • All public records transferred to the National Archives; • Public records disposed of with authority • Data of deferred transfer under Sec. 21; and • A public access register that contains information on: (1) Restrictions on public access to public records imposed under Sec. 31(g) (2) Prohibitions imposed under Sec. 36 on public access to public archives or protected records under the control of the executive director; (3) The grounds for the prohibitions and restrictions stipulated under Sections 36 and 37 (4) The conditions agreed to under Sec. 23 hereof as to public access for protected records is transferred to the control of the executive director. Fe Angela M. VerzosaPublic records may be classed as: NAP General Circular No. 1 (Jan 20, 2009) Fe Angela M. Verzosa
  10. 10. What are protected records?• Sec. 23 of RA 9470. Protected Records of Local Governments. - (a) The executive director may, by notice in the Official Gazette made after consultation with any local government concerned, declare that a local government record is a protected record for purposes of this Act. LGUs shall provide for the adequate protection and preservation of a protected record they hold, and cannot dispose it without authorization and approval. Fe Angela M. VerzosaTransfer of Public Recordsrequires all government offices to transfer to NAP:• archival materials or collections of any government office which are more than thirty (30) years old and which can no longer be maintained and preserved• noncurrent public records that, in the judgment of the executive director, are of permanent and enduring archival value• public records of a government office that ceases to exist/function as a public office• Noncurrent public records of a government office that has thirty (30) years + retention periods (including inactive personnel records) Fe Angela M. Verzosa
  11. 11. Transfer of Public Records A person having custody of public records, at the expiration of his/her term of office or employment shall deliver to his/her successor, or if there is none, to the National Archives of the Philippines, all public records in his/her custody. NAP General Circular No. 1 (Jan 20, 2009) Fe Angela M. Verzosa Registry of Deferred Transfers• Public records whose disposition are under or part of specific acts, laws or regulations• Public records deferred for a specified period on any conditions that the head and the executive director consider appropriate as agreed in writing by the two parties• Public records that are in electronic form, which the executive director instructs the controlling government office in writing to continue to maintain and control after the expiry of the thirty (30) year period Fe Angela M. Verzosa
  12. 12. Transfer of Public Records Public records shall be surrendered on demand: Public records, in the possession of a private person who has special permission to keep and Except if the head of the handle records in the course government office has of his official duties, which permitted the person referred in the opinion of the to in the immediately executive director are or preceding subsection to retain likely to be of permanent possession of the record. and enduring archival value Fe Angela M. Verzosa Disposal of Public Records• NAP General Circular No. 2 (Jan 20, 2009) provides guidelines on the disposal of valueless records in government agencies. General rules 3.8Do not dispose financialrecords subject of audit until they are post- audited and finally settled. Fe Angela M. Verzosa
  13. 13. NAP General Circular No. 2 (Jan 20, 2009) Fe Angela M. VerzosaQuestions? Fe Angela M. Verzosa