SECTION 96 IN THE GENERAL PROVISIONS OF THE FY 2023 GENERAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT:
To enhance transparency and enforce accountability, all agencies of the government shall maintain a Transparency Seal to be posted on their websites. The Transparency Seal shall contain the following:
i. The Agency’s Mandates and Functions, Names of its Officials with their position and designation, and Contact Information;
ii. Approved Budgets and corresponding Targets, immediately upon approval of this Act;
iii. Modifications made pursuant to the general and special provisions in this Act;
iv. Annual Procurement Plan/s and Contracts Awarded with the winning supplier, contractor or consultant;
v. Major Activities or Projects and their Target Beneficiaries;
vi. Status of Implementation, Evaluation or Assessment Reports of said programs or projects;
vii. Budget and Financial Accountability Reports;
viii. Updated People’s Freedom of Information (FOI) Manual signed by head of agency, updated One-page FOI Manual and Agency FOI Reports; and
ix. Annual reports on the status of income authorized by law to be retained or used and be deposited outside of the National Treasury, which shall include the legal basis for its retention or use, the beginning balance, income collected and its sources, expenditures, and ending balance for the preceding fiscal year.
A pearl buried inside a tightly-shut shell is practically worthless. Government information is a pearl, meant to be shared with the public in order to maximize its inherent value. The Transparency Seal, depicted by a pearl shining out of an open shell, is a symbol of a policy shift towards openness in access to government information. On the one hand, it hopes to inspire Filipinos in the civil service to be more open to citizen engagement; on the other, to invite the Filipino citizenry to exercise their right to participate in governance. This initiative is envisioned as a step in the right direction towards solidifying the position of the Philippines as the Pearl of the Orient – a shining example for democratic virtue in the region.