Quantcast
Latest Stories

FOI Bill finally tackled at House

By

MANILA, Philippines — The Freedom of Information Bill was finally tackled at the House of Representatives on Monday.

This was after the House finally conducted its first roll call this year, after failing to check on the attendance of its members for the first three session days last week.

There were 186 congressmen present during the session when House Bill 6766 or the Freedom of Information Act was introduced. Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. on Sunday sent reminders to House members to attend session so they could muster quorum.

FOI Bill principal author Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada III said that the controversial measure they were pushing was not included in the day’s Order of Business.

But Public information panel chairman Eastern Samar Representative Ben Evardone was allowed to sponsor HB 6766 at past 6 p.m.

Tañada said that the sponsorship pushed through as the result of an agreement between the majority and minority blocs of the House.

FOI co-author Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat had earlier said that contentious issues on the bill were best tackled on the floor after the measure was sponsored.

In his sponsorship speech, Evardone said that the passage of the FOI Bill “will change governance as we know it, radically, and for the better.”

The version being pushed provides exceptions for certain information to be kept secret under guidelines of an executive order, if it can interfere with military and law enforcement operations, or if it constitutes invasion of privacy, among others.

If enacted, the bill will allow individuals to submit requests for government information. The measure also proposes remedies for possible denial of such requests, such as filing complaints with the Office of the Ombudsman.

The bill mandates that government agencies upload on its websites records on its annual budget, finances including income and expenditure, and procurement and construction contracts, among others.

Evardone, reading from his sponsorship speech of the bill, assured that the exceptions should not be used to cover up wrongdoing or corruption.

This piece of legislation has taken twenty years by now, according to Tanada in his sponsorship speech for the measure.

Possibly spurred by questions on possible abuse on the FOI Bill once enacted, he said that they were open to amendments and urged all House members to allow the measure to be debated and voted on “if (they) believe in sincere governance.”

Tañada admitted that there was limited time, with only five session days left for the 15th Congress to work before the campaign period starts, but urged the House leadership to help the bill’s passage.

“The challenge to the House of Representatives of the 15th Congress is to finally see to the enactment of the FOI Law… Question is whether we can maintain quorum,” he said.

And with time running out fast, FOI authors said that they were planning to speak with President Benigno Aquino III and urge him to certify the bill as urgent.

Baguilat said that they would still try despite the Malacañang’s earlier stand for
House members to resolve issues on HB 6766 amongst themselves first before the executive branch came into the picture.

Akbayan Partylist Representative Walden Bello has earlier said that they were preparing to accompany FOI advocates from various sectors to convince the President that the people need the FOI Bill passed in the 15th Congress.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Freedom of Information bill , Government Transparency , Media , Nation , News , press freedom




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  2. Cagayan mayor shot dead after flag-raising ceremony
  3. Obama, family cause a small stir at Easter service
  4. Santiago sees Palace hand in Gigi’s return
  5. ‘Malang’ next crocodile attraction after ‘Lolong’
  6. Gigi Reyes’ only option: tell all
  7. Malaysia Airlines jet turns back after tire burst
  8. Ancient enigmatic carvings in danger of disappearing
  9. New plant to boost supply of clean energy
  10. More bodies from ship; transcript reveals wavering
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  5. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  6. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  7. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  8. Massive infra spending set
  9. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  10. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
Advertisement

News

  • 22 houses destroyed, 3 hurt as violent wind storm hits village
  • 242 out of 438 pass board tests for chemical engineers
  • Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  • 5 OFWs from Negros quarantined for MERS-CoV tests
  • Release of village chief’s truck caught carrying illegal logs slammed
  • Sports

  • Alaska takes quarterfinals opener over San Mig Coffee
  • Jackson finds second wind to push Meralco past Rain or Shine
  • NLEX fights off Derulo Accelero to remain unbeaten
  • Mayweather diehard Bieber eats pride, poses with Pacquiao for photo op
  • Power Pinays rip Singapore to enter quarters in Asian volley tilt
  • Lifestyle

  • Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Entertainment

  • Arrest warrants out vs. Deniece Cornejo, Cedric Lee, et al over serious illegal detention
  • Lindsay Lohan says she had a miscarriage
  • Discovery network cancels Everest jump
  • ‘Captain America’ stays strong atop US box office
  • Easter musings
  • Business

  • Oil prices to go up on supply concerns, optimism on US rebound
  • Century Pacific Food sets IPO price at P13.75 per share
  • Oil prices down in quiet Asian trade
  • Asian shares mixed in holiday-thinned trade
  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Technology

  • PH has slowest internet in Southeast Asia
  • Nintendo’s trailblazing Game Boy marks 25th anniversary
  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • QC woman who flew in from Middle East tests negative for MERS-CoV
  • DFA, DOH urge OFWs not to panic over MERS-Cov
  • Balikatan could spoil peace talks, says militant group
  • DFA officers hold workshop on aiding human traffic victims
  • Canada in communication with PH on toxic wastes
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement