Quantcast
Latest Stories

Senate panels approve FOI bill

By

Senator Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — The proposed Freedom of Information (FOI) bill that would give the public access to government records was approved by a joint panel in the Senate on Wednesday after holding only two hearings.

The first hearing was held by the committees on public information, civil service, and finance last September 4 while the second and final hearing was conducted at 10 a.m. this Wednesday.

Senator Grace Poe, head of the committee on public information, adjourned the hearing around 12 noon without saying whether the bill was approved or not. But when asked   in a press conference about the status of the bill, she categorically said that it was already approved by the committees.

“Oo pasado na sa komite kasi meron na namang basic provisions na we really agree on (Yes it was passed in the committee level because there were basic provisions that we really agree on),” she said.

A committee report on the approved bill will now be routed to members of the committees for signature before it will be submitted for plenary debates.

Poe said they were “determined” to submit a committee report on the floor on September 24, sponsor it for plenary debates on September 25 and hopefully gets the approval of the chamber within the year.

Conspicuously missing in the approved measure, the senator said, is the controversial “right of reply” provision, which would mandate media organizations to allow officials to respond to reports that were obtained through the FOI requests.

“In all of the 11 submissions, resolutions and bills, walang right of reply akong nakita (I did not see a right of reply provision).  But of course this is not to say that the lower house won’t entertain such a provision,” she said.

The senator said she was personally opposed to the provision.

“(I believe) in self-regulation. These are ethical standards that are already imposed on different (media) organizations that you have to be able to present both sides. E kung hindi ka naman gumagawa ng ganoon, alam naman ng tao kung papaniwalaan ka o hindi,” she said.

“Sa akin kasi (To me) that’s another form of censorship so I don’t want to dictate how news will be presented and how it will be taken as long as the access to information is there,” Poe added.

While the bill, if enacted into law, would allow access to   government records, it also contains  some exemptions and safeguards  on information concerning national security, bargaining position of the country in international transactions  or when it would jeopardize criminal investigation, among others.

On the issue on whether or not to declassify information, Poe said, “The court shall always favor the right to information.”

At the start of the hearing, Poe stressed the need to enact the bill into law.

“In our committee, one thing is clear—it is important now to enact into law the Freedom of Information or FOI bill. With this law, we can give every Filipino a chance and the power to actively participate in monitoring how the government spends public’s money,” she said.

Poe said alleged abuses in the government would have been prevented if the bill has long been passed in Congress.

The bill was approved in the Senate during the last Congress but failed to get the same approval at the House of Representatives.

Related Stories:

Congress to vote on FOI bill after Aquino certifies it as urgent—Belmonte

Aquino fears FOI law would gag gov’t officials

FOI backers hope scam will boost bill’s chances


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: FOI Bill , Freedom of Information bill , governance , Graft and Corruption , transparency




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. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  2. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  3. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  6. DOJ to NBI: Arrest Cedric Lee, 4 others
  7. Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  8. Estrada, Gigi Reyes denied access to evidence from other respondents
  9. Thoughts on Holy Week
  10. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  1. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  2. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  3. Netizens cry: 6/55 Lotto was rigged
  4. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  5. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  8. ‘King’ Yabut and I: Driver bares Makati dad ‘abuses’
  9. It was difficult having Japanese blood
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. UP back on top as ‘average’ student aces bar
  5. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  6. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  7. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  8. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  9. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  10. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
Advertisement

News

  • DOH asks co-passengers of OFW carrier to test for MERS-CoV
  • ‘Shouldn’t we move?’ Ferry evacuation under scrutiny
  • 5.5-magnitude quake hits Sultan Kudarat
  • Passengers denied chance to escape sinking South Korea ferry
  • Firetruck rams California eatery; 15 injured
  • Sports

  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Durant has 42, Thunder beat Pistons 112-111
  • Walker leads Bobcats over Bulls in OT, 91-86
  • Man City slips further out of title contention
  • Federer would skip tennis to be with wife, newborn
  • Lifestyle

  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • Entertainment

  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • Business

  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Number of retrenched workers rose by 42% in ’13
  • Technology

  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement