FOI bill moves in Senate-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Monday, September 30, 2013
THE National Union of Journalists in the Philippines believes there is progress in their crusade to push for the Freedom of Information Bill, at least, in the Senate.
NUJP chairperson Rowena Paraan said advocates of the FOI including media groups are optimistic of the bill’s passage especially in the Senate with Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares taking the helm of the Committee on Public Information.
However, this is the opposite in the House of Representative as Paraan said the Public Information Committee remains slow in moving the bill which was shelved in the 15th Congress.
She added several of the bill’s champions in the House of Representatives have failed to join the committee.
Another problem which the committee presented is the lack of a space at the House of Representatives to accommodate the hearings, she said.
But the NUJP chair stressed the venue is never a question as even the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication also offered its halls for the use of the committee.
However, the NUJP chairperson also remained optimistic and welcomed the expressed support of Baguio Representative Nicasio Aliping Jr. who recently asked to co-author the House Bill No. 94 which was authored by Ifugao representative Teodoro Baguilat Jr. and Dinagat Islands representative Arlene Bag-ao.
Aliping said public trust and accountability is essential “as all information in relation to service must be available to the public,” he said.
The FOI once passed will strengthen the people’s democratic rights for transparency, accountability and public disclosure in the government.
In the FOI Bill's explanatory note, it will "give provisions for access to information on the part of the people to form decision and actions if necessary."
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 30, 2013.