House panel okays FOI bill

Manila Times - - FRONT PAGE - LLANESCA T. PANTI

THE House Com­mit­tee on Pub­lic In­for­ma­tion has ap­proved the pro­posed Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion (FOI) bill that will make gov­ern­ment ac­tiv­i­ties trans­par­ent.

The panel, led by Rep. An­to­nio Tinio of Al­liance of Con­cerned Teach­ers party-list, con­sol­i­dated 35 ver­sions of the FOI mea­sure that will cover all gov­ern­ment agencies in the Ex­ec­u­tive, Leg­isla­tive and Judicial branches as well as con­sti­tu­tional bod­ies.

“We are work­ing for the swift en­act­ment into law of the FOI bill, con­sid­er­ing that this is one of the pri­or­i­ties of the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion. We hope that, with the sup­port of the House lead­er­ship, we will soon be able to take up the FOI bill in ple­nary,” Tinio said in a state­ment.

Tinio said the FOI bill em­bod­ies two as­pects of the “right to in­for­ma­tion” as man­dated by the 1987 Con­sti­tu­tion:

full pub­lic dis­clo­sure and cit­i­zens’ ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion.

“Full pub­lic dis­clo­sure pro­vides that ev­ery Filipino, with­out the need of re­quest, should be able to get in­for­ma­tion on gov­ern­ment records and trans­ac­tions. The ap­proved FOI also re­it­er­ates the Con­sti­tu­tion’s man­date to dis­close the State­ments of As­sets, Li­a­bil­i­ties, and Net Worth of cer

“The pol­icy of full pub­lic dis­clo cur­rent laws. The FOI bill seeks to

The FOI mea­sure, how­ever, still has a lengthy list of ex­cep­tions con­tained in two pages.

The gen­eral ex­cep­tions in­clude in­for­ma­tion on na­tional se­cu­rity; af­ter six years); ex­changes dur­ing an ex­ec­u­tive ses­sion; trade se­crets; in­va­sion of per­sonal pri­vacy un - ly re­quired by law; and priv­i­leged com­mu­ni­ca­tions, among oth­ers.

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