MANILA, Philippines – The National Privacy Commission (NPC) has issued guidelines on how government agencies would handle requests for information on government personnel.
In a press release on Tuesday, April 4, the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) said the NPC listed down 4 considerations when evaluating requests for personal data sheets (PDS):
- If the information requested is a matter of public concern
- If the requesting party has declared and specified the purpose of his/her request
- If the declared and specified purpose is not contrary to law, morals, and public policy
- If the personal data requested is necessary to the declared, specified, and legitimate purpose
The discretion in granting or denying a request is still up to the agencies, said NPC Commissioner Raymund Liboro in a phone interview. “We can only give guidelines consistent with the law.”
The PDS contains personal information of a government official or employee. It also includes information such as educational background, work experience, civil service eligibility, and training programs attended.
Liboro said the PCOO sought the opinion of the NPC regarding the matter. The PCOO in its statement said that it “has been in constant coordination with the NPC in matters regarding protection of privacy” upon the signing of Executive Order 2, which set up the freedom of information (FOI) program in the executive branch.
The NPC’s advisory “laid out the policy to harmonize the right to information and the right to privacy of communication,” said the PCOO.
The advisory also said that the disclosure of personal data “shall only be allowed when permitted by existing laws and only those data that relate to the position or function of an individual working for the government.”
Data with sensitive personal information “may also be redacted by government agencies.”
“In all cases, the NPC advised that the rights of the data subject should be respected, including the right to be informed and notified about the processing of his/her personal data,” the PCOO said. – Rappler.com