Malacañang on Tuesday, September 26, said items detailing the possessions, financial obligations, and properties of Cabinet officials would be disclosed in their Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN).
“The acquisition cost and the total net worth, the total assets and the total liabilities will be disclosed,” Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Assistant Secretary Kris Ablan said in a press briefing in Malacañan.
He further noted that journalists may request the officials’ declaration and Malacañang would be willing to reissue the SALN that will disclose those details.
However, the Palace clarified that the practice of redacting the home address as well as the names of the unmarried minor children will be followed.
“Remember that in the SALN law, the only reason why you have to declare the names of the children is if they have any business interest. If there are none, then there might not be a need to disclose,” he said.
According to Ablan, a technical working group will be formed by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) to review the SALN guidelines, which may include the revision of the form on whether or not to include the names of the minor children, if there are no business interests at all.
During the same briefing, National Privacy Commission Deputy Commissioner Ivy Patdu said the CSC allows redaction of SALN in terms of the home address.
“Even the Ombudsman circular on disclosure of SALNs and even by practice, names of minor children and home address are already redacted,” she said.
“So there are also some points about whether a government official, a public personality, still has a right to privacy. Whether this right is no longer available if a person chooses to be in the public eye,” she added.
The Deputy Commissioner noted that the Data Privacy Act should not be used to shield public officials from scrutiny, especially when these are matters that are of legitimate public concerns.
“But neither should this law be ignored or should be set aside when what it is involved is personal information, because this law is for all of us,” she said.
“Information privacy is necessary for safety and security and it is for us to enjoy what we should enjoy as a democratic society. Both these rights are important and both these rights should be zealously guarded,” she added.
PLLO embarks on federalism information drive
Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) Secretary Adelino Sitoy joined the press briefing on Tuesday and announced that the Cabinet has already approved his agency’s presentation of roadmap to federalism.
He said his office has started to undertake its information drive on the principles of the fundamentals of federalism.
The PLLO’s activities were held in Manila, Quezon City, Tugegarao City, Makati City, Dumaguete City, Cebu City, Mandaue City, and Bacolod City.
Sitoy said the Committee on Constitutional Amendments has adopted as working draft the proposed Presidential-Bicameral-Federal draft Constitution contained in Resolution No. 8 and it has created four technical working groups to deliberate on the proposed measure.
President Duterte signs EO defining powers of SBMA administrator and directors
During the same briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella announced that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has signed Executive Order (EO) No. 42 defining the powers and functions of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) administrators and directors.
The EO repealed EO No. 340, s. 2004, which separated the position of SBMA Chairman from the position of SBMA Administrator.
Under the new EO, the appointed SBMA Administrator is directed to assume the position of ex officio Chair of the SBMA Board.
Asked what prompted the President to issue the order, Abella cited a study by the Office of the Executive Secretary where they saw that “it was actually the two positions who were originally, according RA, Republic Act, it was supposed to be two offices in one person.”
“So I think they reverted to that. That is what they diverted to,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Palace official said the government is currently monitoring the situation in Barangay Talumpok Silangan in Batangas following a clash between government forces and the communist rebels.
“The military is on top of the situation, and will release updates as soon as the information becomes available,” Abella said.
Abella also welcomed the recent surrender of nine bombers of the New People’s Army (NPA) and the turnover of improvised explosive devices in Sultan Kudarat, noting it as a positive development in the government’s efforts to restore peace and maintain order in Mindanao.
“Many lives and properties have been saved because of this action of the communist rebels, who are trained to make and use powerful bombs to return to the fold of the law,” he said.
“The efforts of community and the local government in working out the surrender of the nine NPA bombers are to be lauded,” he added. ###PND