Secretary of Communications Ramon A. Carandang
At the signing of the MOA between PCDSPO and the Supreme Court
[Delivered at the Supreme Court of the Philippines, Manila on July 20, 2012]
Today, I am proud to witness the signing of the memorandum of agreement between the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office or PCDSPO and the Supreme Court.
Under this agreement, PCDSPO will provide the Supreme Court copies of all executive issuances in its possession so it can digitize and put these records up on their e-library. In exchange, the Court will provide the Executive, through the PCDSPO, all the records in the e-library. The e-library contains a record of court decisions, rulings and other legal references. The Official Gazette online, in turn, is the repository of executive issuances and announcements.
For over 111 years, the Official Gazette has published all of these historic documents. The innovation that we introduced, and are currently undertaking, makes these laws and issuances available on the Internet. Let’s face it – how many people have actually read the Official Gazette in book form? Our office has given new life to it, through what we call the Official Gazette Project, which aims to make a century’s worth of legislation and executive issuances freely available to the public. I invite you to visit www.gov.ph and see for yourself the Official Gazette of the 21st century.
The Supreme Court, on the other hand, started the process of encoding and digitizing the different indexes of the Official Gazette, Supreme Court decisions, Philippine legal periodicals and the newspaper collection in 1997. Initially available only to members of the Supreme Court, the digitized content became accessible to the public in 2004 when the Supreme Court E-Library was established. The Supreme Court E-Library now serves the entire Judiciary–the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan, Court of Tax Appeals, Regional Trial Courts, Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Shari’a Courts.
Today, this memorandum of agreement between our two offices is not intended merely so we can share information between ourselves. We will share this with the public so that anyone with an Internet connection can access these documents that are a living testimony of the country’s history. This is not just a record of issuances. This is actually Philippine history that we are putting up online. This will be of great help to the media, historians, lawyers, government workers and officials, and to anybody who has the interest in knowing how Philippine government works and has worked over the last several decades.
I would like to thank Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, a man who understands the value of an informed public, a man who is committed to transparency and who in his short time as an acting chief justice, has already put in place many reforms in the Supreme Court.
We are likewise grateful to Atty. Milagros Ong for sharing her valuable research on our legal system, and Undersecretary Manuel Quezon who has worked tirelessly to give flesh to President Aquino’s vision of a transparent and accountable government.
What we have done here today will be part of our legacy to our nation.