Senate may pass FOI bill by early 2014-A A +A
Thursday, October 17, 2013
SENATORS may be able to pass the controversial freedom of information (FOI) bill after the targeted enactment of the proposed 2014 national budget in December.
Plenary debates on the bill started last month but this will be suspended once the Senate begins the deliberations on the proposed P2.268-trillion budget on November 18, Senate President Franklin Drilon said Wednesday.
“We can resume deliberations before the adjournment in December if we still have time when the budget is in the bicameral conference committee or we can have a full debate in January of next year. I would predict that by the end of first quarter of 2014, we should be able to approve the FOI on third reading and refer it to the House (of Representatives),” said Drilon.
The House is expected to hold its first committee hearing on the measure, which mandates all government agencies to disclose information on public interest transactions, documents or records, on October 22.
House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. earlier said the chamber will pass the bill before the end of 16th Congress in June 2016 while Malacanang promised to include it in the agenda of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac) meeting.
The Senate passed its version of the FOI law in the 15th Congress as the House received criticisms for its slow action on the bill, which was never voted upon in the plenary. (Sunnex)