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FOI proponents to push bill anew

Paolo Romero - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Proponents of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill in the House of Representatives will renew their push for the immediate passage of the measure when Congress opens session on July 28 amid corruption scandals hitting the Aquino administration, an administration lawmaker said yesterday.

Parañaque City Rep. Gustavo Tambunting, author of one of the 24 FOI bills, said the approval of the transparency measure was long overdue as it has been pending in Congress for almost 27 years.

The bill remains at the House committee on public information chaired by Misamis Occidental Rep. Jorge Almonte.

“It’s sad that with all these controversies and corruption scandals and reports of anomalies in the government, we still don’t have an FOI law that is important in times like these,” Tambunting said in Filipino.

Tambunting said the aim of the measure is to protect and to provide a system for the people’s right to information as enshrined in the 1987 Constitution.

According to the Constitution, Filipino citizens have the right to have access to information of public concern, subject to limitations as may be provided by law.

“Our problem is without an FOI law, government offices are left to themselves in determining what information can be given to the public and what information can remain private,” Tambunting noted. 

“Without an FOI law, public officials can withhold certain documents, claiming confidentiality, when all they want to do is to keep secret their wrongdoings,” he pointed out.

Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon, also one of the authors of the FOI bill, earlier said that Malacañang’s refusal to disclose the details of the P177-billion Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) may prove to be “the single largest stumbling block” to the passage of the FOI bill.  

 

CITY REP

DISBURSEMENT ACCELERATION PROGRAM

FOI

GUSTAVO TAMBUNTING

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

JORGE ALMONTE

MISAMIS OCCIDENTAL REP

PROPONENTS OF THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION

TAMBUNTING

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