31 December 2012

The Xavier University SBM Student Council's Statement of Support for the FOI Bill



The Xavier University School of Business and Management Student Council 
(XU-SBMSC) is a partner organization of the FOI Youth Initiative (FYI).

02 December 2012

FOI Bill: Certify Urgent! [Statement of the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition]


The Freedom of Information bill (FOI) in the Senate and in the House of Representatives has advanced despite the odds, having passed the respective committees.  FOI is now at a critical juncture, which will determine its passage in this 15th Congress. 

Given that time is running out in the 15th Congress, we appeal to the Senate and House leadership, as well as to the Executive, to accord its passage the urgency it deserves.

It is within their powers to pass the FOI bill in the 15th Congress despite the time constraint.

The Senators can make good their earlier commitments to pass the FOI bill. They must find time to proceed with interpellation, amendments, and passage on second and third reading before they adjourn for the December break.

In the House of Representatives, the Committee on Rules, through the Majority Leader, is empowered to declare a bill urgent, and to set the number of days or hours to be allotted for the consideration of the bill in plenary, and when vote on the bill shall be taken. 

To start the process, we demand that Rep. Evardone gives justice to the 17 members of the House who voted to approve the committee report last November 27, by submitting it to plenary today (Monday, December 3). The House leadership must then include the FOI bill in the Order of Business beginning this week. 

On the part of the Executive, President Aquino can certify to the necessity of its immediate enactment, as he did with the Sin Tax Bill. This will place the FOI bill on par with the highest priority measures of Congress, and save it the delay from the interval of days needed in passing bills on second and third readings.

We take this opportunity to thank and congratulate the FOI champions who succeeded in having the committee report approved by the House committee, despite the odds. Principally, we recognize the leadership of Quezon Rep. Erin Tañada and the crucial interventions by Akbayan Reps. Walden Bello and Kaka Bag-ao, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, CIBAC Reps. Cinchona Cruz-Gonzales and Sherwin Tugna, and Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño.

We also express our heartfelt gratitude for the other regular, deputized and ex-officio members of the Committee on Public Information who answered the call for an affirmative vote on the FOI consolidated bill. They are Cebu 1st District Rep. Rachel Marguerite del Mar, Bagong Henerasyon Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy, Kabataan Rep Raymond Palatino, AAMBIS-OWA Rep. Sharon Garin, Basilan Rep. Jim Hataman-Salliman, Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano, DIWA Rep. Emmeline Aglipay, Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe, An Waray Rep. Neil Benedict Montejo, and Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo.

In plenary, we appeal to the proponents of the Right of Reply to allow the passage of the FOI. We urge them to pursue their Right of Reply advocacy independent of the FOI bill's passage. Constitutional and public policy issues remain unresolved around the Right of Reply, which should be fully deliberated in the separate measures also filed with Rep. Evardone's committee, with all the stakeholders consulted extensively.

We will support reasonable amendments to the FOI bill, like the provision on safeguard against abuse proposed by Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy. We will likewise support an amendment that will address the concern of the Department of National Defense over the time gap between the repeal of the existing information classification guidelines and the promulgation of the new classification guidelines as provided under the bill. 

Beyond this, all that remains for the 15th Congress is the fulfillment of a solemn promise to the people to pass the long-overdue Freedom of Information Act.


Signed (02 December 2012):
[FOI Youth Initiative (FYI) partner organization signatories are in blue.]

1. Atty. Nepomuceno Malaluan
Co-Director, Institute for Freedom of Information and
Co-Convenor, Right to Know. Right Now! Coalition

2. Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo, DD 
Chairman, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines - National Secretariat for Social Action-Justice and Peace (CBCP-NASSA)

3. Ms. Malou Mangahas
Executive Director, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism

4. Mr. Peter Angelo V. Perfecto
Executive Director, Makati Business Club

5. Ms. Annie Geron
General Secretary, Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK)

6. Prof. Luis Teodoro
Deputy Director, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility

7. Mr. Josua Mata
Secretary General, Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL)

8. Ms. Yuen Abana
Campaign Coordinator, Partido ng Manggagawa

9. Ms. Clarissa V. Militante
 Coordinator, Focus on the Global South, Philippines Programme

10. Mr. Jun Aguilar
Mr. Elso Cabangon
Filipino Migrant Workers Group

11. Mr. Max M. De Mesa
Chairperson, Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)

12. Mr. Ramon R. Tuazon, President
Dr. 
Florangel Rosario-Braid, President Emeritus & Senior Adviser

Ms. Madeline B. Quiamco, Dean
Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication

13. Atty. Roberto Eugenio Cadiz 
Executive Director, Libertás

14. Mr. Alwyn Alburo, Vice Chairman
Ms. Rowena Paraan, Secretary-General
National Union of Journalists of the Philippines

15. Prof. Leonor M. Briones
Lead Covenor, Social Watch Philippines

16. Ms. Maxine Tanya Hamada
Executive Director, International Center for Innovation, Transformation and Excellence in Governance (INCITEGov)

17. Mr. Ariel Sebellino
Executive Director, Philippine Press Institute

18. Dr. Edna A. Co
Professor, University of the Philippines Diliman

19. Mr. Norman Cabrera, Secretary General
Mr. John Carlos G. de los Reyes, Candidate for Senator (2013)
Mr. Rizalito Y. David, Candidate for Senator (2013)
Atty. Marwil Llasos, Candidate for Senator (2013)
Mr. Carlos Cabochan,  Candidate for Representative, 2nd District of Caloocan City (2013)
Mr. Harry Tambuatco,  Candidate for Representative, Lone district of Muntinlupa city (2013)
Mr. Edilberto M. Cuenca,  Candidate for Representative, 1st District of Makati City (2013)
Mr. Frank Reyes, Candidate for Representative, Lone District of Mandaluyong City (2013)
Ang Kapatiran Party

20. Atty. Eirene Jhone Aguila
FOI and New Politics Advocate

21. Ms. Joy Aceron
Program Director, Government Watch/ PODER, Ateneo School of Government

22. Mr. Sixto Donato C. Macasaet
Executive Director, Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO)

23. Ms. Jenina Joy Chavez
Southeast Asia Monitor for Action

24. Mr. Vincent Lazatin
Executive Director, Transparency and Accountability Network

25. Dr. Segundo Romero
Program Director, Ateneo School of Government

26. Mr. Ricardo Reyes
President, Freedom from Debt Coalition

27. Dr. Joseph Anthony Lim
Professor, Economics Department, Ateneo De Manila University

28. Dr. J. Prospero de Vera
Professor, UPNCPAG
Executive Director, Pimentel Institute for Leadership and Governance

29. Mr. Bong Fabe
Freelance journalist

30. Atty. Risa Halagueña
Fellow, Action for Economic Reforms

31. Sr. Cres Lucero, SFIC, Co-Chairperson
Mr. Emmanuel Amistad, Executive Director
Task Force Detainees of the Philippines

32. Atty. Corazon Valdez Fabros
Lead Convenor, Stop the War Coalition Philippines

33. Ms. Ana Maria R. Nemenzo, National Coordinator
Ms. Mercy Fabros, Advocacy and Campaign Coordinator
Ms. May-i Fabros, Coordinator of Young Women Collective
Ms. Rosheic Sims, Assistant Coordinator of Young Women Collective
WomanHealth Philippines

34. Mr. Rolando Ocampo
Spokesperson, Prudentialife Warriors/Movement for Change and Good Governance

35. Ms. Cielo Magno
Coordinator, Bantay Kita

36. Mr. Red Batario, Executive Director
Ms. G. Sevilla Alvarez, Program Director
Center for Community Journalism and Development

37. Mr. Isagani R. Serrano
President, Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement

38. Dr. Sylvia Estrada-Claudio
Director, University of the Philippines Center for Women’s Studies.

39. Ms. Jessica Reyes-Cantos
Lead Convenor, Rice Watch and Action Network

40. Ms. Ellene Sana
 Executive Director, Center for Migrant Advocacy

41. Mr. Jaybee Garganera, 
National Coordinator, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM)

42. Mr. Jong Pacanot
Secretary General, Freedom from Debt Coalition - Southern Mindanao

43. Ms. Evita L. Jimenez 
Executive Director, Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG)

44. Ms. Andrea Maria Patricia Sarenas 
Chairperson, Mindanao Coalition of Development NGO Networks (MINCODE)

45. Fr. Albert E. Alejo, SJ
Ehem Anticorruption Program

46. Mr. Jason Alacapa
Chairperson, University Student Council (UPM USC), UP Manila

47. Ms. Jean Enriquez 
Executive Director, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Asia Pacific

48. Dr. Nymia Pimentel Simbulan
Executive Director, PhilRights

49. Atty. Ray Paolo J. Santiago
Executive Director, Ateneo Human Rights Center

50. Ms. Zenaida S. Mique
Executive Director, Claimants 1081

51. Sr. Nelda L. Balaba, OND
Program Coordinator, Justice and Peace Desk – Social Action Center, Diocese of Marbel

52. Ms. Marjorie Anne Yoro
Suprema, UP Kabataang Pilosopo Tasyo (KaPiTas), UP Diliman

53. Ms. Moses Albiento
Chairperson, Alliance of Student Leaders (ASL), Ateneo de Manila University

54. Mr. Joseph Angelo Gutierrez
Chairperson, Movement of Students for Progressive Leadership in UP (MOVE UP), UP Los Baños

55. Mr. Tristan Daine Zinampan
Chairperson, Linking Everyone Towards Service CDC (LETS CDC), College of Development Communication, UP Los Baños

56. Ms. Mary Ann Fuertes
Executive Director, Interface Development Interventions, Inc. (Davao City)

57. Atty. Arvin A. Jo
Focal Person, The Access Initiative - Philippines

58. Ms. April Lamentillo
Supremo, Sandigan ng mga Iskolar para sa Nagkakaisang CAS (SINAG CAS), College of Arts and Sciences, UP Los Baños

59. Mr. Curt Russel Lopez Delfin
President, Metro Manila Alliance of Communication Students (MACS)

60. Mr. John Mark Salvador
President, Bagong Benilde, De La Salle - College of Saint Benilde

61. Mr. Van Battad
President, UP Sirkulo ng mga Kabataang Artista (SIKAT), UP Diliman

62. Ms. Luisa Lioanag
Bos Tsip-Tsip, UP Bukluran sa Sikolohiyang Pilipino (Buklod-Isip), UP Diliman

63. Ms. Starjoan Villanueva
Executive Director, Alternate Forum for Research in Mindanao

64. Mr. Joseph Purugganan
Coordinator, EU-ASEAN FTA Network

65. Ms. Patricza Torio
Tagapangulo, UP Lipunang Pangkasaysayan (LIKAS), UP Diliman

66. Ms. Marian Bahalla
Chairperson, Laban COC Party, College of Communication, Polytechnic University of the Philippines

67. Mr. Arjay Mercado
President, UP Economics Towards Consciousness (ETC), UP Diliman 

68. Mr. Joshua Layog
Primer, Katipunan CHE, College of Human Ecology, UP Los Baños

69. Ms. Ema Escanilla
Speaker, UP People-Oriented Leadership in the Interest of Community Awareness (UP POLITICA), UP Diliman

70. Mr. Edward Dayog
President, UP Organization of Human Rights Advocates (OHRA), UP Diliman

71. Mr. JC Tejano
National Chairperson, Bukluran ng mga Progresibong Iskolar - UP System (BUKLURAN - UP SYSTEM)

72. Ms. Ara Tan
President, UP Kalipunan ng mga Mag-aaral ng Sosyolohiya (KMS), UP Diliman

73. Mr. Ace Ligsay
Chairperson, UP Alyansa ng mga Mag-aaral para sa Panlipunang Katwiran at Kaunlaran (UP ALYANSA), UP Diliman

74. Mr. Mickey Eva
President, Coalition for Students’ Rights and Welfare (STRAW Coalition)

75. Mr. Carlo Brolagda, Chairperson
Mr. Chris Alquizalas, Councilor
College of Social Sciences and Philosophy Student Council (CSSPSC), UP Diliman / Convenors, FOI Youth Initiative (FYI)

76. Mr. Joshua Young
Chairperson, Bigkis ng mga Iskolar Para sa Bayan Tungo sa Makabuluhang Pagbabago - UPM (BIGKIS-UPM), UP Manila

77. Mr. Viko Fumar
President, BUKLOD CSSP, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, UP Diliman

78. Julliano Fernando A. Guiang
Councilor, University Student Council, UP Diliman
Convenor, Disclose All Records (DARe) Movement

79. Mr. Deg Daupan
President, Alternatibong Katipunan ng mga Mag-aaral (AKMA), UP Baguio

80. Mr. Walter Tamayo
History Department Representative, AngKAS (CSSP History Department Core Group), UP Diliman

81. Mr. Gio Alejo
President, Sanggunian ng mga Paaralang Loyola ng Ateneo de Manila, Ateneo de Manila University

82. Mr. Jose Valencia
President, KASAPI Kaisahan ng Migranteng Manggagawa sa Gresya

83. Mr. Lejun Dela Cruz 
Acting Chairperson, Alab Katipunan

84. Aurora A. Regalado 
Managing Trustee, Management and Organizational Development for Empowerment (MODE)

85. Mr. Renato Dela Cruz
President, Aniban ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (AMA)

86. Mr. Walter Balane
President, Bukidnon Press Club

87. Ms. Sylvia Paraguya 
Chief Executive, National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO)

88. Mr. Pete Pinlac
Chairperson, Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya

89. Mr. Pablo Rosales 
Chairperson, Progresibong Alyansa ng mga Mangingisda

90. Mr. Boy Alban
Chairperson, League of Urban Poor for Action

91. Mr. Jun Pascual
Acting Chairperson, Pambansang Katipunan ng Makabayang Magbubukid

92. Ms. Edeliza Hernandez
Executive Director, Medical Action Group

93. Dr. Renato G. Mabunga 
Chairperson, Human Rights Defenders - Pilipinas

94. Fr. Edwin Gariguez
Coordinating Committee Member, Faith-based Congress Against Immoral Debts

95. Sr. Mary John Mananzan, OSB
Co-chairperson, Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines

96. Mr. Acmad Maruhom-Macatimbol 
Executive Director, Lanao Alliance of Human Rights Advocates

97. Ms. Jennifer Julia Lacaba
President, Animal Concerns and Awareness Club (AC2), University of the Philippines - Visayas Tacloban College

98. Mr. Xander Losaria
Secretary General, SENTRO - La Salle, De La Salle University - Dasmariñas

99. Mr. Wilson Fortaleza
Kampanya para sa Makataong Pamumuhay

100. Prof. Flordeliz L. Abanto 
Broadcast Journalism Coordinator, St. Scholastica's College, Manila

101. Prof. Nelson J. Celis
AES (Automated Election System) Watch

102. Prof. Angelina E. Borican
Journalism Professor, College of Communications
Polytechnic University of the Philippines

01 December 2012

BUKLOD CSSP: FOI ASAP!


BUKLOD CSSP is a partner organization of the FOI Youth Initiative (FYI).

28 November 2012

27 November 2012

[FYI in PCIJ] FOI Youth Initiative: Clamor for FOI strong in campuses across nation


MORE and bigger youth and student organizations in campuses across the nation added their voices yesterday to the popular clamor for the swift passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill in the 15th Congress.

Amid a small victory of sorts with the bill’s approval on Tuesday by the House of Representatives Committee on Public Information, the manifesto should serve lawmakers who will shortly tackle the bill in plenary fair warning: Better not disappoint the youth.

The FOI Youth Initiative (FYI), a network of youth and student organizations pushing for transparency and accountability in government, expressed solidarity with various people’s organizations “in the clamor for more solid mechanisms in ensuring governance that is open and honest to the people.”

FYI cited the value of an FOI law as “a measure that shall curb corruption and advance participatory governance,” even as it urged the Aquino government to “strongly push for its enactment, in fulfillment of its promise of change.”

The signatories from 59 youth and student organizations across the Philippines exhorted “our fellow young leaders to join us in ensuring the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill into law to strengthen democracy and to transform our government into a genuine instrument of social justice and social progress.”

The manifesto was signed by:

  1. Carlo Brolagda, Chairperson, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy Student Council (CSSPSC), University of the Philippines – Diliman
  2. Viko Fumar, President, BUKLOD CSSP, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of the Philippines – Diliman
  3. Joseph Angelo Gutierrez, Chairperson, Movement of Students for Progressive Leadership in UP (MOVE UP), University of the Philippines – Los Baños
  4. Ace Ligsay, Chairperson, UP Alyansa ng mga Mag-aaral para sa Panlipunang Katwiran at Kaunlaran (UP ALYANSA), University of the Philippines – Diliman
  5. JC Tejano, National Chairperson, Bukluran ng mga Progresibong Iskolar – UP System (BUKLURAN – UP SYSTEM), University of the Philippines System
  6. Tristan Daine Zinampan, Chairperson, Linking Everyone Towards Service CDC (LETS CDC), College of Development Communication, University of the Philippines – Los Baños
  7. Joshua Lorenzo Layog, Primer, Katipunan CHE, College of Human Ecology, University of the Philippines – Los Baños
  8. April Lamentillo, Supremo, Sandigan ng mga Iskolar para sa Nagkakaisang CAS (SINAG CAS), College of Arts and Sciences, University of the Philippines – Los Baños
  9. Deg Daupan, President, Alternatibong Katipunan ng mga Mag-aaral (AKMA), University of the Philippines – Baguio
  10. Joshua Young, Chairperson, Bigkis ng mga Iskolar Para sa Bayan Tungo sa Makabuluhang Pagbabago – UPM (BIGKIS-UPM), University of the Philippines – Manila
  11. Edward Dayog, President, UP Organization of Human Rights Advocates (OHRA), University of the Philippines – Diliman
  12. Mickey Eva, President, Coalition for Students’ Rights and Welfare (STRAW Coalition)
  13. John Mark Salvador, President, Bagong Benilde, De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde
  14. Curt Russel Lopez Delfin, President, Metro Manila Alliance of Communication Students (MACS)
  15. Marlon Cornelio, National Chaiperson, Akbayan Youth
  16. Melba Tampakan, National Chairperson, Alliance of Progressive Labor – Youth (APL Youth)
  17. Marian Bahalla, Chairperson, Laban COC Party, College of Communication, Polytechnic University of the Philippines
  18. Arjay Mercado, President, UP Economics Towards Consciousness (ETC), University of the Philippines – Diliman
  19. Gio Alejo, President, Sanggunian ng mga Paaralang Loyola ng Ateneo de Manila, Ateneo de Manila University
  20. Moses Albiento, Chairperson, Alliance of Student Leaders (ASL), Ateneo de Manila University
  21. Benedict Nisperos, President, Law Student Government (LSG), College of Law, University of the Philippines – Diliman
  22. Walter Tamayo, History Department Representative, AngKAS (CSSP History Department Core Group), University of the Philippines – Diliman
  23. Ernest Calayag, Secretary General, Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP)
  24. Nico Ibaviosa, President, UP Alliance for Responsive Involvement and Student Empowerment (ARISE), College of Engineering, University of the Philippines – Diliman
  25. Gibby Gorres, Executive Director, Center for Youth Advocacy and Networking (CYAN)
  26. Ara Tan, President, UP Kalipunan ng mga Mag-aaral ng Sosyolohiya (KMS), University of the Philippines – Diliman
  27. Serge Aclan, Chairperson, College of Allied Medical Professions Student Council (CAMPSC), University of the Philippines – Manila
  28. Jason Alacapa, Chairperson, University Student Council (UPM USC), University of the Philippines – Manila
  29. Marjorie Anne Yoro, Suprema, UP Kabataang Pilosopo Tasyo (KaPiTas), University of the Philippines – Diliman
  30. Karla Mae de Leon, Suprema, UP Kalipunan para sa Agham Panlipunan at Pilosopiyang Pilipino (UP KAPPP), University of the Philippines – Diliman
  31. Luisa Lioanag, Bos Tsip-Tsip, UP Bukluran sa Sikolohiyang Pilipino (Buklod-Isip), University of the Philippines – Diliman
  32. Patricza Torio, Tagapangulo, UP Lipunang Pangkasaysayan (LIKAS), University of the Philippines – Diliman
  33. Paulina Miranda, Chairperson, College of Education Student Council (CESC), University of the Philippines – Diliman
  34. Joni Dumasig, President, Union of Progressive Students (UPS), University of the Philippines – Cebu
  35. Fred Omalza, President, People United to Lead, Obey, and Serve (PULOS), University of the Philippines – Mindanao
  36. Adrian Martinez, National President, Kabataang Liberal
  37. Ema Escanilla, Speaker, UP People-Oriented Leadership in the Interest of Community Awareness (UP POLITICA), University of the Philippines – Diliman
  38. Van Battad, President, UP Sirkulo ng mga Kabataang Artista (SIKAT), University of the Philippines – Diliman
  39. Heart Diño, Chairperson, University Student Council (UPD USC), University of the Philippines – Diliman
  40. Robin Charles Ramos, President, Cor Jesu Association of Graduate Students (CJAGS), Cor Jesu College, Digos City, Davao del Sur
  41. Juan Paulo Oreta Rodriguez, Executive Board / Federation Chairman, Barkadahang San Joseño, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan
  42. Leo Christian Lauzon, Chairperson, Youth Against Debt (YAD) Eastern Visayas
  43. Jennifer Julia Lacaba, President, Animal Concerns and Awareness Club (AC2), University of the Philippines – Visayas Tacloban College
  44. Princess Kimberly Ubay-ubay, President, School of Business and Management Student Council (SBMSC), Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan, Cagayan de Oro City
  45. Frezalva Vir Burce, Program Coordinator / Child Protection Officer, Children International – Child Sponsorship for Community Development Inc. (CSCDI), Tabaco City, Albay
  46. Xavier Peredo, Party President, REPUBLICA Socio-Political Party (UA&P REPUBLICA), University of Asia and the Pacific
  47. Roy Dahildahil, Chairperson, Partido sang Mainuswagon nga Bumulutho (PMB), University of the Philippines – Visayas, Miagao, Iloilo
  48. Glosuvel Requina, President, Council of Maritime Leaders (CML), University of Cebu – Maritime Education and Training Center, Cebu City
  49. Cedrick Sagun, President, UST Political Science Forum (UST-TPSF), University of Santo Tomas – Manila
  50. Dawn Po Quimque, President, College of Communication Student Council (COC-SC), Polytechnic University of the Philippines
  51. Jonah Elaine Abubakar, President, School of Business and Management (SBM) – Business Economics Society (BES), Universidad de Zamboanga, Zamboanga City
  52. Michael Villamor, President, Supreme Student Government – Northern Cebu Colleges, Bogo City, Cebu
  53. Danise Talaba, President, Team Communication (TeamComm), De La Salle University – Manila
  54. Xander Losaria, OIC / Secretary General, SENTRO – La Salle, De La Salle University – Dasmariñas
  55. Jem Francelle Sanico, Chairperson, Samahan ng mga Mag-aaral para sa Alternatibong Reporma at Pagbabago (SAMAR Party), University of Eastern Philippines, Northern Samar
  56. Charisse Marie Catama, Student Regent, University of Eastern Philippines, Northern Samar
  57. Marlon Padua, Vice President for Non-Academics, STI Student Council, STI College – Southwoods, Carmona, Cavite
  58. Anne Lorraine Garcia, Most Idyllic Sister, UP Sigma Beta Sorority, University of the Philippines – Diliman
  59. Jana Cabuhat, President, University Student Government (DLSU USG), De La Salle University – Manila

[FYI in the Inquirer] FOI bill to be tackled in House again


by  Karen Boncocan.

MANILA, Philippines — Expect tension when legislators meet anew to tackle the Freedom of Information Bill at the House of Representatives.

Tempers flared in the House committee on public information’s hearing last November 13 after its chairman, Eastern Samar Representative Ben Evardone, blocked efforts to put the consolidated version of the bill to a vote.

Akbayan Representative Walden Bello, a co-author of the bill, was one of the legislators who pressed Evardone to allow the consolidated version to be voted on.

Nueva Ecija Representative Rodolfo Antonino, who wants a “right of reply” provision in the FOI bill, meanwhile, tried to halt motions for voting on the consolidated version.

Bello told reporters in a text message that he would once again “restate the motion and demand that a vote be taken since it had been seconded by (Cagayan de Oro) Representative Rodriguez.”

“I do not see how they can stop the vote from taking place,” he said.

Members of the FOI Youth Initiative (FYI) also vowed to monitor the hearing later at 1:30 p.m. They even made phone calls to the offices of the members of the public information panel to see who would show up in the hearing.

Meanwhile, Evardone has also given assurance that the FOI bill would be their sole agenda for the hearing later. He dispelled rumors that the panel would again place the FOI bill last in its agenda like the last hearing.

“Yun lang ang nasa agenda,” he told reporters in a text message.

[FYI in Bombo Radyo] Panibagong mainitang debate sa FOI Bill inaasahan ngayong hapon



Naniniwala si Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello, co-author ng Freedom of Information Bill (FOI) na magiging mainitan na naman ang sagutan ng mga mambabatas sa pagtalakay na muli ng kontrobersyal na panukalang batas ngayong hapon.

Ito aniya ay kung ipipilit na muli ng mga nagsusulong ng Right to Reply Bill na maisama ang kanilang mga panukala.

Magugunitang nagkasigawan at ilan pa ang nagmura matapos mabigo ang House committee on information na pinamumunuan ni Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone para mailusot ang FOI sa kanilang komite.

Para naman kay Nueva Ecija Rep. Rodolfo Antonino, isa sa humaharang sa FOI version, dapat matiyak na kasama ang Right to Reply para maging maayos at solidong batas ang kanilang mabubuo.

Pero para naman sa mga nagsusulong ng FOI, dapat isulong ng hiwalay ang hirit ni Antonino lalo't huli itong naihain at natalakay sa Kamara.

Maging ang ilang grupo ng kabataan tulad ng FOI Youth Initiative (FYI) at iba pang grupo ay nagtungo rin sa Kongreso para bantayan ang development ng usapin.

FYI on the November 27 hearing: Celebrating a Victory and Continuing our Vigilance


After the victory at the House Committee on Public Information earlier today, the FOI Youth Initiative (FYI) believes that the Freedom of Information Bill still has a chance to be enacted into law this 15th Congress. However, we recognize that there are still many difficult hurdles to cross, specifically the continuing insistence of some legislators to include a Right of Reply provision in the FOI Bill. 

The fight to ensure that the committee will come to a vote on the measure was clearly no walk in the park since Rep. Rodolfo Antonino and other pro-Right of Reply legislators spent most of the time bashing the media in trying to build up their cause. We would like to congratulate and thank pro-FOI legislators led by Rep. Erin Tañada, Rep. Walden Bello, Rep. Kaka Bag-ao, Rep. Teddy Baguilat, and many others who did not falter amid the attempts to once again delay a vote on the bill. 

We in the FYI will firmly stand against any move that will attempt to distort a proposed law for transparency by turning it into a measure that violates our Constitution with the inclusion of a Right of Reply provision. Having such shall make the bill contain two subjects, which is violative of Article VI, Section 26.1 of the highest law of the land. Moreover, it is a regulation that seeks to control press freedom, which, again, is contrary to our Constitution that says that “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press… (Article III, Section 4).” 

We in the FYI, with 59 youth organizations and student councils from across the nation, will remain vigilant in watching the words and actions of our elected officials in both Houses of Congress. The struggle is far from over, and we, young leaders, shall never waver in our call.

How our legislators voted in the November 27 FOI Bill hearing


Earlier today, the House of Representatives Committee on Public Information approved the consolidated Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill without the Right of Reply provision. The FOI Youth Initiative (FYI) was present at the hearing, represented by its convenors from the UP Diliman CSSP Student Council (Chairperson Carlo Brolagda, Councilor Chris Alquizalas, and History Dept. Rep. Walter Tamayo).

Voted for the consolidated FOI Bill (without Right of Reply):
  1. Erin Tañada (4th District, Quezon) [ex-officio as Deputy Speaker]
  2. Kaka Bag-ao (Akbayan Party-List) [deputized by Deputy Speaker Beng Climaco]
  3. Walden Bello (Akbayan Party-List) [deputized by Deputy Speaker Raul Daza]
  4. Raymond Palatino (Kabataan Party-List)
  5. Sharon Garin (AAMBIS-OWA Party-List)
  6. Rachel Marguerite del Mar (1st District, Cebu City)
  7. Teddy Casiño (Bayan Muna Party-List)
  8. Bernadette Herrera-Dy (Bagong Henerasyon Party-List)
  9. Cinchona Cruz Gonzales (CIBAC Party-List)
  10. Sherwin Tugna (CIBAC Party-List) [deputized by Deputy Majority Leader Bolet Banal]
  11. Jim Hataman-Salliman (Lone District, Basilan)
  12. Rodolfo Albano (1st District, Isabela)
  13. Emmeline Aglipay (DIWA Party-List) [deputized by Deputy Majority Leader Daisy Fuentes]
  14. Teddy Brawner Baguilat (Lone District, Ifugao)
  15. Rodel Batocabe (Ako Bicol Party-List)
  16. Neil Benedict Montejo (An Waray Party-List)
  17. Roman Romulo (Lone District, Pasig City) [ex-officio as Deputy Majority Leader]

Voted against the consolidated FOI Bill:
  1. Rodolfo Antonino (4th District, Nueva Ecija) [deputized by Deputy Speaker Pablo Garcia]
  2. Amelita Villarosa (Lone District, Mindoro Occidental) [ex-officio as Senior Deputy Minority Leader]
  3. Lani Mercado-Revilla (2nd District, Cavite)

Abstained:
  1. Rodante Marcoleta (Alagad Party-List)


Bantay Batasan para sa FOI: November 27 Hearing



Members of the FOI Youth Initiative (FYI) conducted a phone call brigade yesterday to offices of House Committee on Public Information members to find out if they are attending today's hearing on the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill. This is the second time the FYI has done this after the previous committee meeting last November 13 which ended up being adjourned by Chairman Ben Evardone due to technicalities raised by Rep. Rodolfo Antonino, an advocate of the Right of Reply provision in the FOI Bill.

FYI members reported that some of the phone lines of committee members could not be reached. However, based on the initial responses, it is certain that the committee will have a quorum. The house rules of the House of Representatives state that only 1/5 of the members of a committee is needed to constitute a quorum. Also expected to attend are authors and champions of the FOI Bill, namely Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada, Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello, and Akbayan Rep. Kaka Bag-ao.

Issues to be tackled in today's hearing would primarily concern the inclusion of the Right of Reply provision within the FOI Bill and other safeguards demanded by some Congressmen.

The FYI, together with the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition, will be present in the committee meeting to show legislators that the youth is watching their actions on this important legislative measure that seeks to promote government transparency and accountability.


BUKLOD CSSP: There's nothing right about the Right of Reply!


BUKLOD CSSP is a partner organization of the FOI Youth Initiative (FYI).

26 November 2012

Youth to legislators: “Your actions speak louder than your lack of words”; Right of Reply in FOI will turn it into a ‘zombie bill’


The youth will be watching their Representatives in tomorrow’s House Committee on Public Information hearing on the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill. 

“Our vigilance goes far beyond social media. We will definitely be present in the committee hearing to see if legislators will represent the interests of the citizens or if they will only carry their own,” said Chris Alquizalas, convenor of the FOI Youth Initiative (FYI), a network of 57 youth and student organizations pushing for the passage of the said measure.


On the day before the hearing, FYI members continued its ‘Bantay Batasan para sa FOI’ and called the offices of the committee members to determine if they will be present in the meeting the next day. “Based on what we found out, there will be enough members present to constitute a quorum. They won’t be able to use a lack of such as an excuse tomorrow,” said Carlo Brolagda, Chairperson of the UP Diliman CSSP Student Council.


Alquizalas added that “what the FYI is watching out for are the legislators who will delay the proceedings by raising repetitive points and questions, just like what happened in the previous meeting.” 

In the November 13 hearing, Nueva Ecija Rep. Rodolfo Antonino continued to manifest and inquire about the non-inclusion of his Right of Reply provision in the consolidated FOI Bill. Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada, chair of the Technical Working Group (TWG), answered that such a controversial provision should be resolved by the mother committee, which failed to call for hearings due the “inaction of its Chairman, Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone,” according to the FYI.

“They may not declare that they are anti-FOI, but their actions speak louder than their lack of words. It doesn’t take a genius to see that during the previous hearing, they were trying to use up the time with continuous badgering so that they can adjourn once the plenary goes into session,” said Alquizalas, a political science student.

One of the major concerns of the FYI is the proposal to include a Right of Reply provision in the FOI Bill. According to Brolagda, also a political science student, “There’s no room for the Right of Reply in the FOI. Aside from it being an anti-press freedom provision, two subjects are not allowed to be within one legislative measure.”

“We must remain watchful and critical. FOI is already in near-death after the previous committee hearing. Now, they're trying to distort and turn it into a zombie bill by attempting to add the Right of Reply,” ended Brolagda. 

23 November 2012

XU-ADC School of Business and Management Student Council's Magpakabana Agila: Freedom of Information Bill



The School of Business and Management Student Council (SBMSC) of 
Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan is a partner organization of the 
FOI Youth Initiative (FYI).

22 November 2012

MASSCOMMemoration: My Pen to End Impunity (PUP COC-SC, Laban COC, and SCAP)


The PUP College of Communication Student Council, Laban COC Party, and 
the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP) are partner organizations 
of the FOI Youth Initiative (FYI).

15 November 2012

FYI in the Right to Know, Right Now! March and the Bantay Batasan para sa FOI (November 12)



While FYI members were at the mobilization,
others phoned legislators to know if they're
attending the November 13 FOI hearing.
 
Members of the FOI Youth Initiative (FYI) marched with the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition from España to Mendiola last November 12 (Monday) to call for the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill. This was a day before the House Committee on Public Information hearing on the measure, which ended up in a postponement of discussions due to the delaying tactics employed by Rep. Ben Evardone, the Committee Chair, and Rep. Rodolfo Antonino, a proponent of the anti-press freedom Right of Reply provision.

While the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition held this protest action, other members of the FYI simultaneously initiated a phone brigade which was dubbed Bantay Batasan para sa FOI to determine committee members' attendance in the hearing the day after.

14 November 2012

Our struggle for a transparent and accountable government continues


Statement of the FOI Youth Initiative (FYI) after the committee hearing on the Freedom of Information Bill last 13 November 2012.

Yesterday, we witnessed a devastating blow to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill carried out by no less than the Chairman of the House Committee on Public Information, Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, together with the avid proponent of the anti-press freedom Right of Reply provision, Nueva Ecija Rep. Rodolfo Antonino.

Rep. Antonino who repetitively made queries and manifestations about the non-inclusion of his Right of Reply provision, despite being sufficiently answered by FOI Bill principal author Rep. Erin Tañada, effectively ate up the time that was meant to be for the approval of the consolidated measure. Rep. Tañada succinctly responded to Rep. Antonino’s continuous badgering by telling him that the Right of Reply provision, which allows politicians to be given space to defend themselves in reports that are based on information obtained through the FOI Law, is a controversial component that needed to be discussed in the mother committee and not in a technical working group. Unfortunately, the Committee on Public Information failed to call any hearing during the past year in order for this to be addressed.

The FOI Youth Initiative (FYI) was present in the committee hearing, together with our fellow member organizations and individuals from the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition. We, young leaders who desire nothing but a government that upholds transparency and accountability, bore witness to the murder of our FOI Bill in the 15th Congress. The kind of ‘leadership’ shown by Rep. Evardone in yesterday’s hearing renders this important piece of legislation as good as dead.

However, we will not back down. We, young leaders of the FYI, believe that there is still hope especially with the presence of FOI champions like Reps. Erin Tañada, Walden Bello, Kaka Bag-ao, Teddy Baguilat, and many others who were present in the committee hearing, but were not given a chance to speak due to the evident bias that Rep. Evardone had for his ‘partner-in-crime’, Rep. Antonino. We believe that this hope will remain and be strengthened by the fact the we, as a part of the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition, are not alone in this struggle for a government that is open and honest to the people it serves.

We invite our fellow young leaders in schools and communities to join us in continuing our fight for our constitutional right to information. With anti-FOI politicians like Reps. Evardone and Antonino in the 15th Congress and with the inaction of many of our leaders who claim to advocate transparency, the battle will definitely be long and difficult, but we will not falter. The FYI will intensify our call until we have an institutionalized mechanism for transparency and accountability in government: FOI NOW!


13 November 2012

Bantay Batasan para sa FOI: Expected Attendance of House Committee on Public Information Members



The FOI Youth Initiative (FYI), led by the UPD College of Social Sciences and Philosophy Student Council (CSSPSC) and the UP Economics Towards Consciousness (ETC) called the offices of the members of the House Committee on Public Information yesterday to find out if they will attend or be absent in the hearing for the Freedom of Information Bill to be held later. As of 1:00 p.m. (30 minutes before the hearing), here are the responses of the legislators:


[FYI in Manila Standard Today] Make-or-break move on FOI bill



x x x

[Deputy Speaker Erin] Tañada, principal author of the freedom of information bill, had complained about the House leadership’s lack of support and Evardone’s excuses that there was “no available room” for his panel to hold public hearings.

Today, the Evardone panel is set to discuss and vote on the bill and submit the committee report for plenary debate.

Tañada warned that if the bill is not passed by December, it is doomed and would have to be refiled in the 16th Congress.

Civil society groups on Monday held rallies near Malacanang on Monday to urge Congress and the Palace to pass the bill.

The Freedom from Debt Coalition, The FoI Youth Initiative (FYI) and the Right to Know, Right Now! held rallies and demanded no more excuses and denounced the “delaying tactics from those who fear transparency and accountability.”

The FYI, spearheaded by the UP Diliman CSSP Student Council, also launched the “Bantay Batasan para sa FoI” to monitor the legislators actions or inaction on the bill.

The FYI is a growing national network of 46 youth and student organizations that are committed to campaigning for the passage of the FoI bill.

At least 46 student leaders from the UP System, De La Salle University and Adamson University signed a manifesto urging the immediate passage of the FoI bill.

“We urge our legislators, especially the members of the Committee on Public Information, to rally behind this measure to show that they truly represent the Filipino people in our desire for a government that is open and honest,” the FYI said in a statement.

The FDC said it believes that an FoI law is a key to freedom from debt and to economic and social justice.

“An FoI Law is a landmark measure that will ensure our constitutional right to information and an effective tool to fight corruption, and will ingrain the culture of transparency and accountability in government,” the FDC said.

“An enlightened citizenry is an empowered one. A people fully aware of their rights and the issues, policies and programs that affect them will be easily galvanized to take action against abuse of power, corruption and bad policies and programs,” the FDC said.

Evardone on Monday said he expects a “healthy and spirited debate” at today’s public hearing.

The chairman of the public information committee has vowed to endorse the bill for plenary approval before the 15th Congress ends in June 2013. By Christine F. Herrera with Maricel Cruz

[FYI in Rappler] 'Enough excuses,' pro-FOI marchers say



MANILA, Philippines – Groups supporting the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill marched to Mendiola on Monday afternoon, November 12, the eve of a crucial House of Representatives committee hearing on the bill.

DRIBBLING FOI? Advocates blame House committee on
public information chairman Ben Evardone for failing to put
the bill to a vote. Caricature by the Right to Know, Right
Now! coalition
One of these groups, the FOI Youth Initiative (FYI), slammed members of the House Committee on Public Information for a "long overdue" meeting on the FOI bill, attributing this to "excuses." One of these is the lack of an available room as committee chair Rep Ben Evardone said last October 9.

"We in the FOI Youth Initiative have had enough of the excuses and delaying tactics from those who fear transparency and accountability. We expect none of these tomorrow in the committee hearing. And we expect that our supposed representatives will attend this important meeting," FYI said in a statement.

FYI marched, along with the rest of the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition, the day before the anticipated meeting on Tuesday, November 13. Other media organizations, like the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, joined the rally.

The marchers urged President Benigno Aquino III to prioritize the FOI bill, even as the President earlier said it is not a priority.

"We urge our legislators, especially the members of the Committee on Public Information, to rally behind this measure to show that they truly represent the Filipino people in our desire for a government that is open and honest," FYI said.

Earlier, the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition said the FOI bill needs to be approved on second and third reading in both chambers of Congress before the legislative session adjourns on December 22. Otherwise, the bill will not go through the bicameral conference committee as early as January, when session resumes.

If passed, the FOI bill will require the government to publicly disclose documents on request or on demand.

"Citizens need and must know how public officials exercise their powers and authorities, how they spend public funds, what contracts and agreements they sign and seal on our behalf, what policy issues bother them that must also bother us so we may participate in making decisions," said the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition in a pooled editorial last August 15.

"Citizens need and must know what programs exist for the delivery of the most basic services, as well as how they can access with success and within reasonable time frames the most relevant public documents they need to secure and safeguard their most basic needs. Indeed, in the panoply of rights, the right to information is both the most supreme and the most fundamental as it is the bedrock of all our rights to education, property, livelihood, even life," the coalition said. – Rappler.com

12 November 2012

The Moment of Truth for Transparency in Government


Tomorrow, we will finally have a hearing for the Freedom of Information Bill in the Committee on Public Information at the House of Representatives. This meeting has been long overdue after many times that it has been postponed because of several excuses, the lamest of which is that there was no available venue in the Batasan Complex.

We in the FOI Youth Initiative (FYI) have had enough of the excuses and delaying tactics from those who fear transparency and accountability. We expect none of these tomorrow in the committee hearing. And we expect that our supposed Representatives will attend this important meeting.

We urge our legislators, especially the members of the Committee on Public Information, to rally behind this measure to show that they truly represent the Filipino people in our desire for a government that is open and honest.

The FYI, together with the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition, will be watching the members of Congress with vigilance and with the hope that they shall be true to the mandate given to them.





Today, while members of the FYI will march to Mendiola with the groups from the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition, we will also be holding the BANTAY BATASAN PARA SA FOI where we, under the leadership of the UP Diliman CSSP Student Council, will conduct a phone brigade to find out if the individual members of the Committee on Public Information will attend or be absent in tomorrow’s hearing. The responses of these legislators’ offices will be released online later tonight.

10 November 2012

Be a Partner Organization of the FOI Youth Initiative (FYI)!

The FYI Manifesto (click on the graphic to enlarge)
or click here to view the HTML text version.
By being part of the FOI Youth Initiative (FYI), your organization will be informed about the different ways you can contribute to our collective campaign for the passage of the FOI Bill. The network may also be able to assist your organization through various means in any of your initiatives that seek to raise awareness about government transparency and accountability and to push for the enactment of this important measure into law.

Simple lang ang mga kailangang gawin upang maging bahagi ng FYI ang inyong mga organisasyon! 


Your organization, through your head, just needs to sign the FYI Manifesto by giving us the following:
  • Full name and title (i.e. Chairperson, President) of the head of your organization
  • Complete name of your organization and its acronym or shortened name if it has any
  • School or community where your organization is based


You can submit these details through these channels:
  • Send a message through our Facebook page.
  • Tweet us via @Youth4FOI.
  • Text our Secretary General at (0906) 312 7928.


Once your organization becomes a signatory to the manifesto, we can add your organization head to our Facebook group to be updated about the activities of the FYI. He or she can also add other members of your organization to the Facebook group with the approval of the administrators. In order for us to do this, your organization head has to also send us the address of his or her personal Facebook account aside from the other details mentioned above. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us!

Kabataan, magbuklod tayo para sa isang pamahalaang bukas at may pananagutan sa mamamayan! FOI now!

07 November 2012

Ateneo Sanggunian: A Call for the Immediate Passage of the Freedom of Information Bill

We, the Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral, as the sole autonomous student government of the Ateneo de Manila University Loyola Schools, express our support for the immediate passage of the Freedom of Information Bill in Congress. We recognize the fervent need to safeguard the right to protect the citizen’s right to access information pertaining to government documents to ensure transparency and accountability.

The Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, forged in the flames of the EDSA Revolution, in the interest of a more democratic, transparent, and free government, guarantees the right of Filipino citizens to full public disclosure and access to public documents. Says Section 7 of the Constitution, 

Access to official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.

However, this right has been stymied, without exact legal definition to what these public documents are, without any act of policy legislating the punishment of government officials who fail to disclose these documents without due cause, and without concern to what this act was meant to foment—a more accountable government more committed to the cause of freedom.

As a result, the media, the Fourth Estate tasked with guarding our freedom from the corrupt practices of unscrupulous individuals, is rendered helpless by the lack of legislation. Government officials are able to hide behind a curtain of invisibility and of skirting around the law. This is why statements of assets, liabilities, and net worth of public officials are often inaccessible, and why proper investigation of corruption charges have yielded few results, among others. The fear of corrupt practices being disclosed to the public has become diminished by this sorry state of affairs.

A nation that proclaims herself to be the torch of Asian democracy does not deserve this kind of injustice.

For fourteen years, many initiatives on freedom of information have run their course in the legislative process. Four years ago, the House of Representatives had already taken a step toward Freedom of Information legislation by discussing H.R. 3732, the Freedom of Information Act, but these efforts were stalled in Congress. Today, the Aquino administration and the 15th Philippine Congress are pushing for the legislation but many obstacles, then as now, remain.

Some have expressed doubts on the proposed legislation, saying that this will provide an avenue for profligate individuals to start using the law for libelous purposes. Others believe that our national security and foreign interests are compromised by this bill.

We, the Sanggunian, call public officials and others afraid of the disclosure provided for in this legislation to avoid misrepresenting the policy of this Act. Concerns about the disclosure of documents pertaining to national defense, security, among other sensitive information, we believe, are already provided for in the bill, in Section 6, on Exemptions. Protections against misuse of information have already been provided for and debated upon. No longer can the passage of this bill, after over fifteen years of consideration, be halted.

We believe that even the most vile of accusations easily crumble in the face of the truth. Allowing public documents to be released to ordinary citizens, in turn, allows the nation to keep government officials honest, for the facts shall speak for themselves.

We believe that for our nation to prosper as a democracy, as the first Filipino revolutionaries and reformers had envisioned it, we must strive for freedom of information. We, the Sanggunian, shall stand, to protect this fundamental right.


The Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral ng mga Paaralang Loyola ng Ateneo de Manila is a partner organization of the FOI Youth Initiative (FYI).
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