FOI law with more access than restrictions pushed
Sen. Grace Poe on Friday underscored the importance of enacting a law on freedom of information (FOI) after Malacañang expanded the restrictions of an executive order signed by former President Rodrigo Duterte that further limited public access to official records.
“While an executive order on [FOI] is laudable, our overarching goal is to institutionalize it through a law,” Poe told the Inquirer.
“We will continue to push for an FOI law—one that gives more access to information than restrictions,” she said.
Poe, who formerly headed the Senate public information and mass media committee, stressed that the people’s right to information “is a sacred element in empowerment and democracy.”
“Transparency,” the senator said, “is crucial to accountability.”
“Without transparency, our people cannot access the information needed to participate in effective governance,” Poe added.
Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva echoed Poe’s view as he reiterated that transparency had always been a “big factor in keeping the people’s faith in the government.”
“There is a need for Congress to open the discussion on the FOI bill to further set the parameters into the information that the public can gain access to,” Villanueva said.
He said this was the reason why he had repeatedly filed the Freedom of Information Act since the 12th Congress when he was still part of the House of Representatives.
He then brought his advocacy to the upper chamber as he filed Senate Bill No. 933, or the proposed People’s Freedom of Information Act.