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DPWH’s trustworthiness has increased as a result of the FOI, according to an official

According to a government official, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has gained more public trust and confidence over the past few years as it has implemented the government’s Freedom of Information (FOI) program.

In a media interview here, Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of the DPWH’s Stakeholders Affairs Division Andro Santiago said that in the past, more than 6,000 complaints against them were brought about by a lack of public involvement.

However, Santiago claimed that after implementing the FOI method, where they actively encouraged dialogue, the number of complaints decreased, which consequently resulted in a greater trust rating. He said, even the accusation that the agency is one of the “corrupt government entities” has begun to fade.

People “did not know DPWH’s accomplishment before the FOI program was implemented,” he said, acknowledging that there had previously been a lack of public participation.

He claimed that the department benefited greatly from FOI because it not only serves to inform the public of the agency’s accomplishments but also serves as a means of demonstrating the department’s “commitment to public service, that we really focus on the needs of specific people in the community.”

The 2023 FOI Roadshow, the first of a planned statewide tour organized by the FOI Project Management Office within the Presidential Communications Office, had Santiago among its presenters on Thursday.

The official claimed that in the past, the public was unaware of the department’s initiatives, such as road and bridge inventories. As a result, it is simple for people to fault and condemn the agency.

He claimed that because there was a lack of public participation, people tended to turn to the media for advice and even express their complaints on social media.

Hence, he continued, “instead of concentrating on solutions, what occurs is that these concerns and complaints get sensationalized.”

After the FOI was put into effect in 2016, DPWH has been making its successes and other information available to the public.

According to the official, DPWH’s public performance rating increased from 58 percent in a 2017 Pulse Asia poll to 75 percent in a more recent survey as a result of more public participation and other reasons.

He stated that the DPWH has a public help and complaints center that attends to the needs of the populace.

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