CamSur vice gov backs local FOI at CANA’s 19th training


NAGA CITY—Camarines Sur Vice Governor Fortunato “Ato” Peña backs the passage of a local version of the freedom of information (FOI) bill to give citizens access to the provincial government’s data and as a tool for transparency and governance.

Peña expressed his support to the bill during the Citizen Action Network for Accountability’s (CANA) 19th training on monitoring and reporting public transparency here on August 17 at Aljosh Café. He served as one of the resource persons at the training, giving his insights on transparency and accountability in the province. 

The CANA training is first of its three-part training series that aims to increase the citizens’ ability to monitor and engage their local government units (LGU) to increase transparency and accountability in their areas.

A total of 20 participants joined the training, including representatives from the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)-Camarines Sur chapter, ABS-CBN, People’s Journal, Karapatan-Bicol, Federation of Baao Women (FBW), among others.

NUJP Director and CANA trainer Sonny Fernandez discussed how local government unit (LGU) finances work, particularly the budget, and gave tips on how to monitor the usage of public funds.

Vince Casilihan, spokesperson of Karapatan-Bicol, discussed local corruption issues in the province, particularly the local usage of the controversial pork barrel.

The participants, especially those from the media, pledged to push for a local FOI bill similar to the initiatives of citizens and groups in Davao. They also agreed to form a citizen action group for transparency and accountability and would act as a genuine watchdog of the LGU with a support from CANA. Photos by Sonny Fernandez