A CAMARINES Sur representative hopes the proposed Freedom of Information (FOI) bill will hurdle the technical working group (TWG) level and reach the committee on public information in Congress.
“It is moving but it’s rather slow and we are getting a little impatient,” said Rep. Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo (Camarines Sur, third district), wife of the late local government secretary Jesse Robredo.
She hopes, though, that the bill will be approved this year.
The House of Representatives’ version of the FOI bill was initiated in the previous Congress but wasn’t passed.
Robredo, when she was elected in 2013, promised to fight for the passage of the bill in the 16th Congress.
She filed House Bill 3237, “An Act to Strengthen the Right of Citizens to Information Held by the Government,” on Oct. 23, 2013.
u201cAng problema sa House, we have 23 versions of the FOI and so many authors, and sa technical working group (TWG) umuupo lahat ng authors,” said Robredo.
She said it is hard to harmonize all these versions. But she hopes everything will go smoothly after it passed the TWG.
Robredo hopes that once the bill passed the TWG, it will not stay long in the public information committee chaired by Rep. Jorge Almonte of Misamis Occidental.
u201cSana makalabas na siya sa mother committee para ma-second reading na siya,” said Robredo.
Robredo, who graced the launching of the Ugnayan ng mga Barangay at Simbahan in Cebu yesterday, had to catch a 12 noon flight back to Manila to attend the 2 p.m. TWG session in the House.
u201cNgayong hapon we will try to push it out of the technical working group,” said Robredo.
According to the Government’s Official Gazette, the Senate passed the FOI bill last March 10 on the third and final reading with 22 affirmative votes, no abstention and no negative votes.
In the House of Representatives the committee on public information formed a TWG to expedite passage of the House version.
The TWG has conducted regular meetings to discuss the provisions last February to June.
Both bills follow the proposed FOI approved by President Benigno S. Aquino, which was transmitted to the previous Congress by Budget and Management Secretary Butch Abad.
The secretary resubmitted the bill to the current Congress.