By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan, November 23, 2023; Philippine News Agency

MANILA – The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) was named among government agencies that are highly compliant with measures upholding freedom of information (FOI).

In a statement Thursday, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. said the BJMP was cited during the Presidential Communications Office’s (PCO) 2023 FOI Awards at the Hilton Hotel Manila on Nov. 21 for its exceptional commitment to transparency and accountability in public service.

“We commend the BJMP for championing freedom of information and for upholding the people’s constitutional right to access information on matters of public concern. This feat speaks volumes of the Jail Bureau’s proactive information disclosure efforts,” he said.

The annual FOI Awards seeks to recognize the remarkable contributions of government offices in the executive branch, including government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs), and state universities and colleges (SUCs) to the development and progress of the FOI program.

This year, the BJMP was hailed among the “Top Requested and Performing Agencies” in the eFOI Portal with 250 to 499 requests and at least 90 percent closed transactions.

Abalos assured that the DILG, along with its attached agencies, will remain a staunch supporter of the eFOI Portal and will continue to significantly contribute to the development and success of the freedom of information program.

“Dissemination of accurate information empowers people and connects them to the government through rebuilding trust, which in turn, inspires progress. Rest assured that the DILG will continue supporting the government’s FOI program,” Abalos said.

BJMP chief, Jail Director Ruel Rivera and FOI officer and spokesperson, Jail Chief Insp. Jayrex Bustinera received the award during the awarding rites.

“Receiving the 2023 FOI Award is a testament to our unwavering commitment to transparency and accountability in our operations. At the BJMP, we prioritize open access to information, enabling us to serve the public with greater efficiency and trust,” Rivera said.