The Palace has acted to implement Republic Act 10173, or the Data Privacy Act, which was signed into law by the previous administration.
The Freedom of Information, which is cited by parties requesting for the SALNs of members of the Cabinet, is an Executive Order and therefore must yield to a higher law. We therefore call on Congress to pass an FOI law due to the obvious limitations of an EO.
The redaction of public documents is nothing new. The United Kingdom, for instance, has its Freedom of Information Act 2000; however, when authorities receive a request for information that constitutes an employee’s personal data, it has to be determined if such disclosure would violate their Data Protection Act. Legitimate public interest in disclosure has to be balanced against the rights of the employees.
Members of PRRD’s Cabinet accomplished and submitted their declared SALNs in accordance with the law.
However, SALNs are public documents and to ensure the privacy and security of the official and their family, sensitive information has been blacked out.
What was redacted are not information on assets, liabilities, and net worth but personal data like family members, home address, among others.
We must take note that the current SALN form has not been amended to comply with the data privacy in consonance with the global requirements/standards.