Bill requiring use of ‘plain language’ in govt’ advisories, announcements filed in Senate
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Lito Lapid has filed a bill that seeks to require the use of “plain language” in all government-issued advisories, notices, announcements, and similar documents intended for public dissemination and distribution.
Under Senate Bill No. 1911, all national government agencies and offices, including government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) are required to use plain language in English, Filipino and/or other regional languages or dialects for several government-issued documents for public dissemination and distribution.
This includes the following:
- forms and other papers for the application, request or enjoyment of a public service, right, privilege, benefit,
- license, clearance, permit;
- the agency’s citizens’ charter;
- documents detailing and explaining a government program, activity, or project;
- replies and responses to an inquiry or request for assistance or information;
- any other document that the PIA (Philippine Information Agency) or GCG (Governance Commission For GOCCs) as the case may be, in consultation with the agency or office concerned, deems as important to be included in the measure
“An informed citizenry is an empowered citizenry. To ensure this, the government must use the right and appropriate communication tools, such as documents, advisories, notices and announcements, that the people can easily understand and comprehend,” Lapid said in the bill’s explanatory note.
“Public communications must be characterized by the use of plain language in a clear, concise and well-organized manner, which must, as much as possible, be free from technical words and jargon,” he added.
The proposed bill likewise tasks the Civil Service Commission (CSC) to monitor and ensure the implementation of this plain language requirement. Meanwhile, the GCG is tasked to ensure the compliance of GOCCs.
Further, the bill proposes that the CSC and GCG conduct regular trainings, seminars and other similar capacity-building activities for the offices and agencies covered by the measure.
“For plain language in Rlipino and other regional languages or dialects, the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) shall be tapped to facilitate the necessary capacity-building activities,” the bill states.
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