Duterte fully supports passage of FOI despite no mention in Sona–Palace
MANILA, Philippines — The passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill remains to be a priority of President Rodrigo Duterte despite not being mentioned in his fourth State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday.
“There are many priority measures not mentioned in the Sona, including Charter change and FOI. It does not worry us because FOI remains to be a key deliverable of the Duterte administration,” Communications Assistant Secretary and FOI Executive Director Kris Ablan said in a text message Tuesday.
Ablan cited that the FOI has two pages of the “President’s Mid-Term Report to the People.”
“We have been reassured by Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles and [Communications] Secretary Martin Andanar that the FOI bill continues to enjoy the full support of the President,” he said.
Asked if the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) lobbied for the inclusion of the FOI in the President’s Sona, Ablan said: “We submitted our report to the PMS, yes.”
Well, we compete with a hundred other programs. It really boils down on what can fit in a 19 page speech,” he added.
While FOI was not mentioned in the Sona, Ablan said it was mentioned by Interior Secretary Eduardo Año and acting Budget Secretary Janet Abuel during the second Pre-Sona Forum in Cebu and again by Nograles in the third Pre-Sona 3 in Davao City.
“We are appreciative of the mentions,” he said.
Ablan earlier said he was optimistic that the 18th Congress would “swiftly” pass the FOI bill. /jpv
READ: Palace ‘optimistic’ 18th Congress will pass FOI bill ‘swiftly’
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