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Legarda files Senate version of FOI bill

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Loren Legarda co-sponsored yesterday the People’s Ownership of Government Information (POGI) bill, the Senate’s version of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act which seeks to ensure honesty and transparency in government.

In her sponsorship speech for Senate Bill 3208, “An Act Fortifying the People’s Right of Ownership over Information Held by the People’s Government,” Legarda explained that the various controversies in the past decade have left citizens doubting the capability of the government to do its mandate of serving the best interest of the people.

“We have to remain faithful to the maxim that a ‘public office is a public trust’. Honesty, transparency and accountability must always be upheld to gain back the people’s confidence and faith in the bureaucracy,” Legarda said.

Legarda joined the calls for the passage of the measure.

“Given the tremendous import of this measure in securing the trust of the Filipino people in their government, I hope that this august chamber shall pass this in the swiftest possible time,” she added.

Legarda also recognized that there is certain information that “must be kept confidential, especially that which may compromise the nation’s security, jeopardize negotiations or diplomatic relations with other nations, and intrude privacy or endanger the life and safety of an individual.”

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“We have covered these exceptions, and if such may cause the denial of access to information, the agency concerned is required to make the appropriate explanation,” said Legarda, a former TV newscaster.

Among the salient points of the measure is the compulsory disclosure, which shall be done by posting the needed documents on government websites for easy access, apart from providing documents upon personal requests of individuals.

 

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