House to resume deliberations on FOI billBy Karen Boncocan
MANILA, Philippines—It’s not yet over for the Freedom of Information Bill at the House of Representatives, Eastern Samar Representative Ben Evardone said on Tuesday.
Evardone, who chairs the House committee on public information, told reporters that deliberations on the proposed measure will resume once the House of Representatives is done with the proposed P2.006-trillion national budget for next year. He estimated that the panel will be able to continue with their hearings by November after a majority caucus is done discussing the measure.
The lawmaker assured that the bill would be speeded up in the plenary once it is passed by the committee. He said they had until December to pass the bill at the plenary level, adding that it would be difficult for the measure to be passed if deliberations continue until January next year.
Although the bill’s primary author, deputy speaker and Quezon Representative Lorenzo “Erin” Tanada III felt hopeful that the FOI Bill would hurdle its committee-level deliberations and continue on to the plenary upon hearing Evardone’s statement, he said that the hearing should be scheduled either on October 9 or 10.
“Since we are concluding the budget deliberations this week, it would have been better if (Evardone) already set the date either on October 9 or October 10. I hope he doesn’t defer the hearing again in the last minute,” said Tañada.
Tañada however said that so long as the FOI Bill gets past the committee “before we go on All Saints Day break, there is hope.”