A LOCAL think-tank reiterated Monday its call for the passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.

Alternate Forum for Research in Mindanao (Afrim) Inc. said although FOI Act has been passed on third reading both through the Senate and the House of Representatives, the bicameral conference committee hearings that will consolidate the bills have not yet been conducted.

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Afrim information services staff Liezel Bugtay said FOI Act provides substantive and procedural details for the state policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest.

"Although the constitution states that government documents should be made available to the public, there is no clear system as to how it can be acquired and this is specified under the FOI Act which even has the provisions on how it is to be observed and penalized if not followed," Bugtay said at Kapihan sa SM media forum.

Bugtay said Afrim has been appealing to House Speaker Prospero Nograles to assign representatives from the House of Representatives for the bicameral conference committee hearings and adopt the Senate version.

"We have been trying to get in contact with him (Nograles). We tried to call his office in Manila but then his office said he's in Davao. When we called his office in the city they said he's in Manila. So it's been difficult," Bugtay said in vernacular.

"Our fear is that if the 14th Congress does not pass it before the election, it will not be given priority even on the next Congress kasi irere-assign nanaman kasi iyan," Bugtay said.

Bugtay said advocates of the FOI Act will empower Filipinos to plant seeds of strategic and irreversible governance reform in the country.

The act is consolidated by Senate Bill 3308 and House Bill 3732.