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Agreement on Freedom of Information bill “close at hand” – Undersecretary Quezon

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MANILA, Philippines –The government of President Benigno S. Aquino III is placing the Freedom of Information bill as one of its top priorities, but wants to ensure that the proposed law keeps a  a “happy balance” between providing information to the public, and at the same protecting confidential government information.

Presidential Undersecretary Manolo Quezon III, in an interview with 990 AM on Thursday morning, revealed that an agreement on the final version of the bill “is close at hand.” But he said that the President wants to address the concerns of FOI advocates,  and concerns on the confidentiality of certain government information.

Undersecretary Manolo Quezon is in charge of drafting the Palace version of the FOI bill. He acknowledged that there are at least three more details that Malacanang is ‘polishing’, but declined to say what these were.

“We are prioritizing the consolidation of the Tanada version of the bill, and also versions of the US, UK and Australia versions,” Quezon said. “ The administration favors transparency, and this had been proven by the openness of the President to queries from the media. But the top priority now is to come up with just one version that will be released.”

He clarified, however, that the final version will still be presented to President Aquino because he has “some legitimate questions about the FOI.”

Early this year, year, President Aquino was criticized by some quarters for not including the FOI bill on the list of priority measures that the Palace wanted Philippine lawmakers to fast-track.

Aquino said at the time that he was not comfortable that all “raw information” on government affairs should be made public.

Presidential Undersecretary Manolo Quezon

Presidential Undersecretary Manolo Quezon III

But the President acknowledged that he does not want to hide anything that is of public interest.

“In the interim, I don’t think we have been hiding anything. We have not avoided any question that has been thrown our way. So even in the absence of any Freedom of Information Law, we have been trying to be transparent to the utmost level possible,” he had said.

“But, of course, there are times that when especially in a raw state, hindi natin pwedeng idi-discuss lest we might have apprehensions raised that are not necessary. So ang dulo noon, shortcut answer is, we’re still fine-tuning exactly how it will be, the details of this Freedom of Information Bill,” he had explained.

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Tags: Freedom of Information , Government , Media , Politics , President Benigno S. Aquino III , Security , Senate , Undersecretary Manolo Quezon

  • http://www.facebook.com/sirhodge Roger Lagarde

    During 2010 Election campaign pa ito eh… tagal naman mag-finalize ng version…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Maria-Cela/100000275164669 Maria Cela

    Mangopya na lang kayo, yemash hangang kailan yan polishing na yan!

    Habang abala ang mga tao sa kahahalungkat ng mga baho ng Arroyko Admin, pihadong mga nagmamadali din sa pankukurakot ang sa kasalukuyang gobyerno. 

    Ang tingin ko sa tuwid na daan ni Abnoynoy ay tuwad na daan, laging nakatingin sa behind, forgetting the to look forward, ngeeeee!

    • http://twitter.com/mannygeorge1 Manny George Abualas

      Hello, GMA  loyalist.

  • Anonymous

    taga mo sa bato, the FOI bill will be watered down & haring noynoy will be very well protected. there will be so many safegurads that as if there was no FOI bill to talk about anyway.

  • Anonymous

    The Freedom of Information here in Australia takes precedence to the right of people to know and guaranteed transparency against the so-called confidentiality of government transaction. Dapat ang confidentiality of government transaction should bear the pain of proving their burden of proof that its confidential rather than the other way around. Kumbaga, given na dapat may access ang mga tao sa information at nasa government ang burden na patunayan na ito ay confidential. Yon ang totoong Freedom of Information Act

  • Anonymous

    bakit yata si manolo na ang lumalabas ? hmmm

  • Anonymous

    I believe majority of the public wants transparency on government fund especially its disbursement in all the departments – this is the arena where graft and corruption resides.  Are there areas in government spending that requires to be confidential? We hope none.

  • Anonymous

    Ito bang si Manolo Quezon ang apo ni Manuel L. Quezon, mas kamukha ni Emilio Aguinaldo.

  • Anonymous

    The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a federal freedom of information law that allows for the full or partial disclosure of previously unreleased information and documents controlled by the United States Government.
    The Act defines agency records subject to disclosure, outlines mandatory disclosure procedures and grants nine exemptions to the statute.[1] It was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 4, 1966 (Public Law 89-554, 80 Stat. 383; Amended 1996, 2002, 2007),[2][3] and went into effect the following year.

    In Canada, the Access to Information Act allows citizens to demand records from federal bodies. The act came into force in 1983, under the Pierre Trudeau
    government, permitting Canadians to retrieve information from
    government files, establishing what information could be accessed,
    mandating timelines for response.

    Kopya lang pala akala ko orig. Ang dami pang  pa echeng na polishing  e verbatem naman nag pagkakopya.

  • http://www.facebook.com/aldin.rrt Al Calde

    this will immortalize PNOY!!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/aldin.rrt Al Calde

    this FOI is for the Philippines future and for the generations to come and that includes the sons and daughters of these politicians.. This should be the top priority of all bills in congress and in senate.
    We will never progress unless there is a strong foundation for transparency in this country specially that corruption is the norm in every public departments/agencies..

    Palaging sinasabi ng mga politician natin na gusto nilang makatulong daw sa mahihirap eto na ho yon, one big leap sa kahirapan!!
    Protect and save our children’s future!!!!

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