One more try-A A +A
One Small Voice
Thursday, January 3, 2013
THE Freedom of Information bill that has been filed in both houses of Congress is, after such a long time, still pending until now. It is, like many other bills but not as popular and unpopular at the same time like this one, trying to be passed before the present congress adjourns.
As it stands, if at all is it still standing as it appears to be more like buried under the ground, it is in danger of being bypassed in a sense as the election season has begun.
As our legislators are already all busy with the upcoming midterm elections, the quorum necessary to pass any bill is increasingly nearing impossibility to be mustered. Our legislators have almost lost all the chances and missed all the opportunities to get it out of the legislative mill. Of course, needless to mention, congress spent a lot of time in the impeachment proceedings of the former Chief Justice as well as the very controversial struggle for the passage of the Reproductive Health bill and the Sin Tax bill which have already both been signed by the President into law.
In any case, if and when the President and the ruling party or the ruling coalition is really sincere and really serious in passing the Freedom of Information bill, a way can always be found to pass this yet another landmark legislation. There can be no valid excuses. There can be no valid justifications. If and when the President really wants this bill to become law, he can make it happen, despite all the challenges. He has already done it before, in more difficult circumstances. He can always do it again, in less difficult circumstances.
The spoiler, now, is not really in the issues. The spoiler, now, is in the time constraint. This spoiler, however, can be spoiled by using the same strategies used in passing the more sensitive and more delicate Reproductive Health bill and Sin Tax bill.
Whatever strategies may have been used in those two bills that are now laws, they can always be used again, if and when the President wills it so. It will be remembered that both bills underwent a very divisive process, but they were passed anyway.
It will be remembered that the impeachment proceedings of the former Chief Justice was a very polarizing situation, but the former Chief Justice was removed from office anyway. There is, therefore, no valid reason why the Freedom of Information bill, less divisive, less polarizing, cannot be passed, even with the obviously limited time.
Like the Reproductive Health bill and the Sin Tax bill, a Freedom of Information bill is necessary and beneficial. Our legislators just have to figure out a way on how to make it more acceptable to the demands of our needs and to the desires of our wants. We have to accept that it can neither be perfect nor acceptable to all. There will really be those who will be unhappy with the final version. But, of course, the goal and the objective, in this case, is not happiness, but what is just, and what is right.
Certainly, there will be complaints from some people here and some people there. These complaints may also come from groups of people, organized or unorganized. To be sure, these complaints matter, but they do not decide for the common good, and they do not dictate for the common good. They must be heard, and they have long been heard, so the time has come for action.
Despite the seeming physical impossibility of the passage of the Freedom of Information bill, with less than a week left of session days, congress still has to make one more try.
Comments are most welcome. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 04, 2013.