House panel sets hearing for FOI bill-A A +A
Saturday, September 28, 2013
THE House committee on public information has scheduled its first hearing on the proposed freedom of information (FOI) bill on October 22, advocates of the pro-transparency measure said.
"The hearing is set on October 22 in the afternoon. No commitment to pass but there was a commitment to discuss," Diwa party-list Representative Emmeline Aglipay said in a text message.
Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat Jr., a proponent of the bill, said Misamis Oriental Representative Jorge Almonte, chairman of the House panel, has committed to conduct two hearings in a month on the FOI bill.
"He committed that he will call regular committee hearings, unlike in the last Congress when the gap between hearings takes six months," Baguilat said.
In the 15th Congress, the FOI bill stayed in the committee level for two years before it was sent to the plenary for second reading approval. The bill never reached second reading as Congress went on a four-month break last February for the May 2013 midterm elections.
President Benigno Aquino III earlier included the FOI bill among the priority measures of his administration. Aquino and Representative Almonte are allies under the ruling Liberal Party (LP).
On Friday evening, FOI advocates under the Right to Know. Right Now! Coalition, lighted candles at the gates of the Batasan Complex in Quezon City to symbolize its desire to have an FOI law.
"We call on the leaders and members of the House of Representatives to demonstrate concrete and positive action on FOI, and match the decisive action so far shown by the Senate," the group said.
The Senate committee on public information chaired by Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares had earlier approved its version of the FOI bill. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)