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No chance for an FOI law this year—Alvarez

/ 03:43 PM August 28, 2016

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said that the chances of a freedom of information (FOI) law to be passed in the House of Representatives this year remain slim.

Alvarez, in an interview in Leyte on Saturday, said that the lower house will likely spend most of its time in ensuring the passage of the 2017 General Appropriations Act.

“Siguro if within the year, baka kakapusin tayo. Kasi from now until about November, budget hearing ‘yan e. Siguro tingnan natin baka by next year,” Alvarez said.

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(If it’s within the year, we might not have enough time. Because from now until November, we’ll be having budget hearings. Let’s see by next year.)

The House leader also said the filling of membership of House committees was another obstacle to passing an FOI law this year.

“’Yung FOI law wala akong problema diyan. Kaya nga lang sa ngayon ay hindi pa kumpleto lahat ng committees. Hindi pa namin nabuo lahat ng members ng bawat committee,” the Speaker said.

(There’s no problem with the FOI law. It’s just that the committees are not yet complete. We haven’t formed the members of each committee.)

Alvarez also asked Filipinos to give the House of Representatives “a little time” in passing the FOI law.

President Rodrigo Duterte has urged Congress to pass the FOI law, saying that he favors “openness in governance.”

“We need to do much more to uphold the people’s right to demand information on government affairs, particularly on how their taxes are spent,” the President said in his budget message on the P3.35 trillion expenditure program for 2017.

Duterte issued Executive Order No. 2 in July which allowed the implementation of the freedom of information in all government offices under the executive branch. JE

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TAGS: budget, FOI, FOI Bill, FOI law, Freedom of Information, hearing, House of Representatives
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