26 August 2012

Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition to Speaker Belmonte: "Intervene in the passage of FOI!"

Full text and list of signatories (including the FOI Youth Initiative and its partner organizations) of the letter of the RIGHT TO KNOW, RIGHT NOW! Coalition to Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. regarding the passage of the FREEDOM OF INFORMATION Bill:

House of Representatives

Subject: Freedom of Information Bill

Dear Speaker Belmonte,

We listened with rapt attention to your speech at the opening of the Third Regular Session of the House of Representatives last July 23. Among the positive pronouncements you made was one that we in the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition have been keenly waiting for. When you referred to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill as a measure already ripe for a vote, we heaved a sigh of collective relief.

Indeed, the struggle for Filipinos to have their FOI law has spanned more than a decade already. Twenty-five years after the 1987 Constitution reaffirmed in Section 7 of the Bill of Rights the right of the people to information, we are still fighting for the passage of a complementing legislation that will ensure its full operation in practice.

Thus we were heartened by your declaration that the House now intends to act on the FOI bill, and by your marching order for the 15th Congress to “seize the day”.

We are concerned, however, that almost four weeks after your speech, the FOI bill continues to languish at the Committee chaired by Rep. Ben Evardone. He did not call a hearing on August 7 contrary to his earlier public pronouncement that he will do so, and there is no indication that he intends to call such hearing anytime soon.

But what concerns us even more are Rep. Evardone’s statements, quoted in a number of media stories, that his decision not to call a hearing was upon instruction of the House leadership. We find this assertion incongruent with the commitment that you have so far expressed on FOI.

As advocates who have engaged the legislative process in earnest, we regret that we have lost faith in the sincerity and good faith of Rep. Evardone on FOI. By his actions (please see attached our recent statement outlining these acts), we have come to the conclusion that he is out to “dribble” the FOI bill to its death in the 15th Congress.

At this crucial juncture in the term of the 15th Congress, we appeal for your intervention and concrete action on the FOI bill, pursuant to the powers and duties of the Speaker to ensure full deliberation and swift approval of priority measures.

We appeal for leadership in ensuring that this long-overdue measure finally sees the light of day, to play an important institutional mechanism for an empowered citizenry, better governance, and more effective delivery of government services.

Very truly yours,
Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition


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

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

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

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

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

6.     Mr. Peter Angelo Perfecto
Executive Director, Makati Business Club

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

8.     Mr. Filomeno S. Sta. Ana III
Coordinator, Action for Economic Reforms

9.     Atty. Roberto Eugenio T. Cadiz
Executive Director, Libertás

10.  Mr. Ramon R. Tuazon, President
Dr. Florangel Rosario-Braid, President Emeritus & Senior Adviser
Ms. Madeline B. Quiamco, Dean
Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication

11.  Ms. Rowena Carranza-Paraan
Secretary General, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)

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

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

14.  Atty Eirene Jhone Aguila
FOI and New Politics Advocate

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

16.  Dr. Edna Estifania A. Co
Dean, UP National College of Public Administration and Governance

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

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

19.  Ms. Melinda Quintos De Jesus
Executive Director, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility

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

21.  Ms. Ana Maria R. Nemenzo
National Coordinator, WomanHealth Philippines

22.  Prof. Leonor M. Briones
Lead Covenor, Social Watch Philippines and
Chairperson, KAAKBAY Party List

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

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

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

26.  Mr. Norman Cabrera
Secretary General, Ang Kapatiran Party

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

28.  Mr. Benjie Barretto
Acting Executive Director, Foundation for Media Alternatives

29.  Mr. Floro Francisco
Regional Consultant (Asia),?LO-Norway

30.  Mr. Carlo Brolagda
Chairperson, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy Student Council, UP Diliman

31.  Mr. Viko Fumar
Chairperson, BUKLOD CSSP, UP Diliman

32.  Mr. Jong Pacanot
Freedom from Debt Coalition – Southern Mindanao

33.  Mr. Mike Lopez
Mr. Joseph Angelo Gutierrez
Movement of Students for Progressive Leadership in UP (MOVE UP)

34. Sr. Pilar Versoza, Founder
Mr. Eric B. Manalang, President
Prolife Philippines Foundation

35.  Mr. Edgardo J.T. Tirona
Former President, Council of the Laity of the Philippines and Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

36.  Mr. Edilberto M. Cuenca
Lay Coordinator, Commission on Family & Life, Vicariate of Sts. Peter and Paul, Makati City

37. Atty. Corazon Fabros, Lead Convenor
Ms. Abeline Salacata, Secretariat
Stop the War Coalition

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

39.  Atty. Arvin A. Jo
Focal Person, The Access Initiative (TAI)-Philippines

40.  Ms. Starjoan D. Villanueva
Executive Director, Alternate Forum for Research in Mindanao (AFRIM)

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

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

43.  Fr. Melvin Castro
Senior Parochial Vicar, Diocese of Tarlac

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

45.  Atty. Normita V. Batula
Executive Director, BALAOD Mindanaw

46.  Mr. JC Tejano
National Chairperson, Bukluran ng mga Progresibong Iskolar – University of the Philippines System (BUKLURAN – UP System)

47.  Mr. Migs Angeles
Secretary General, Akbayan Youth – University of the Philippines Diliman

48.  Ms. Anabelle E. Plantilla
Chief Operating Officer, Haribon Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources

49.  Ms. Carolyn O. Arguillas

50.  Ms. Len Manriquez
Peace and Conflict Journalism Network

51.  Myra Mabangque
Broadcaster, Katbalogan, Samar

52.  Ms. Yolanda Fuentes
Journalist, Pangasinan

53.  Mr. Bart Guingona
President, pagbabago@pilipinas

54.  Dr. Renato Mabunga
Chairperson, Human Rights Defenders-Pilipinas

55.  Dr. Nymia P. Simbulan
Executive Director, Philippine Human Rights Information Center  (PHILRIGHTS)

56.  Ms. Jelen Paclarin
Executive Director, Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau (WLB)

57.  Ms. Maria Fe Nicodemus
Executive Director, KAKAMMPI

58.  Ms. Maria Gittel Saquilabon
Executive Director, Sumpay Mindanao

59.  Mr. John Cortez – Secretary General

60.  Ms. Zenaida Mique
Executive Director, Claimants 1081

61.  Mr. Emmanuel Amistad
Executive Director, Task Force Detainees of the Philippines

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

63.  Mr. Roland Vival
National Campaign and Advocacy Coordinator, Aniban ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura

64.  Ms. Jana Cabuhat
President, University Student Government, De La Salle University

65.  Mr. Edward Dayog
President, UP Organization of Human Rights Advocates (OHRA), UP College of Law

66.  Mr. Curt Russel L. Delfin
President, Metro Manila Alliance of Communication Students

67.  Mr. Gibby Gorres
Executive Director, Center for Youth Advocacy and Networking (CYAN)

68.  Mr. Gab Andres
President, Alyansang Tapat sa Lasallista (TAPAT), De La Salle University

69.  Mr. Tristan Daine Zinampan
LETS CDC, UPLB College of Development Communication

70.  Mr. Joshua Lorenzo Layog
Katipunan CHE, UPLB College of Human Ecology

71.  Ms. April Me Lamentillo
SINAG CAS, UPLB College of Arts and Sciences

72.  Mr. Roger Abdulrachman
Chief of Operations, Project Development Institute (PDI)

73.  Mr. Jelson Garcia
Asia Manager, Bank Information Center – Asia

74.  Ms. Marlene Ramirez
Secretary General, AsiaDHRRA

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

76.  Dr. Leah Samaco Paquiz
President, Ang Nars

77.  Mr. Lauro Purcil
President, Government Union for the Integration of Differently-Abled Employees (GUIDE)

78.  Mr. Ray Bitancor
President, National Police Commission Employees Association

79.  Mr. Jonathan Jamora
President, Bislig City Employees Association

80.  Mr. Joselito Sabalbaro
President, Mindanao Polytechnic College

81.  Mr. Brill Degay Daupan
President, Alternatibong Katipunan ng mga Mag-aaral (AKMA), UP Baguio

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

83.  Mr. Salvador H. Feranil
Vice Chairperson, Philippine Network of Rural Development Institutes (PhilNet-RDI)

84.  Ms. Mary Ann Fuertes
Executive Director, Interface Development Interventions (IDIS), Davao City

85.  Mr. Narciso P. Jover Jr.
Executive Director, Tri-People Concern for Peace, Progress and Development of Mindanao (TRICOM)

86.  Ms. Flordeliz Abanto
Philippine association of Communication Educators (PACE).

87.  Dr. Ma. Theresa M. Rivera
College Research and Social Outreach (RSO) Coordinator, College of Agriculture, Xavier University

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

89.  Mr. Nelson J. Celis
IT Convenor, Automated Election System (AES) Watch

90.  Mr. Alvin Quintans
Program Manager, Center for Youth Advocacy and Networking

91.  Mr. Raul Socrates C. Banzuela
National Coordinator, Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA)

92.  Prof. Josefa “Gigi” Francisco
General Coordinator, Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN)

93.  Mr. Mickey Eva
National Chairperson, Coalition for Students’ Rights and Welfare (STRAW Coalition)

94.  Mr. Wilson Tiu
Save Agrarian Reform Alliance

95.  Mr. Jeff Crisostomo
Convenor, FOI Youth Initiative (FYI)

96.  Mr. Ritz Lee B. Santos III
Chairperson, Amnesty International Philippines

97.  Ms. Remedios Gacus
Coordinator, Amnesty International Phils – Cagayan de Oro

98. Mr. Abner Francisco
Chairperson, Watchful Advocates for Transparent Clean and Honest Governance(WATCH-North Cotabato)

99. Mr. Rolly Ocampo
Spokesperson, Prudentialife Warriors and Spokesperson, Movement for Change and Good Governance

100.  Joseph Purugganan
Coordinator, EU-ASEAN FTA Campaign Network

101.  Ms. Aurora Regalado
Convenor, Rice Watch and Action Network (R1)

102. Ms. Monina Geaga
Secretary General, SARILAYA


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

23 August 2012

Manifesto of Youth and Student Organizations for the Passage of the Freedom of Information Law

We are the FOI Youth Initiative (FYI), a network of youth and student organizations that call for transparency and accountability in government through the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill.

We are in solidarity with different sectors of society in the clamor for more solid mechanisms in ensuring governance that is open and honest to the people.

We affirm that our right to information enshrined in the Constitution* must be institutionalized through the FOI Law to guarantee that transparency among public officials and employees becomes a norm and not simply a discretion of individuals bound by their terms of office.

We believe that the FOI Law is a measure that shall curb corruption and advance participatory governance that will ultimately benefit each and every Filipino.

We appeal to Malacañang to not merely express support for the FOI Bill, but to strongly push for its enactment in fulfillment of its promise of change under the Administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III.

We call on the Senators and Representatives in the 15th Congress to sincerely respond to the interests of the people by eliminating all obstacles that cause the slow pace of tackling the measure in the legislative mill.

Finally, we invite 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 right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. 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.” - Article III (Bill of Rights), Section 7, Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, 1987


Kami ang FOI Youth Initiative (FYI), isang ugnayan ng mga samahan ng kabataan at mga mag-aaral na nananawagan para sa pagkakaroon ng pamahalaang bukas at may pananagutan sa pamamagitan ng pagpapasa ng Freedom of Information Bill.

Nakikibuklod kami sa iba’t ibang sektor ng lipunan sa paghangad para sa mas solidong mga mekanismong magsisiguradong ang paggugubyerno ay bukas at tapat sa mamamayan.

Sumasang-ayon kaming nararapat na mainsitusyonalisa sa pamamagitan ng FOI Law ang ating karapatan sa impormasyon na nakapaloob sa Saligang Batas* upang matiyak na ang pagiging bukas ng mga pampublikong opisyal at kawani ay maging praktika at hindi lamang simpleng diskresyon ng mga indibidwal na saklaw ng kanilang termino ng panunungkulan.

Naniniwala kaming ang FOI Law ay isang paraan para mawaksi ang katiwalian at maisulong ang pakikilahok sa pamamahala kung saan tuluyang makikinabang ang bawat Pilipino.

Umaapela kami sa Malacañang na hindi lang sana basta ihayag ang suporta sa FOI Bill, kundi manindigang itulak ito para maisabatas upang maisakatuparan ang pangako ng pagbabago ng Administrasyon ni Pangulong Benigno S. Aquino III.

Nananawagan kami sa mga Senador at Kinatawan sa ika-15 Kongreso na tugunan nang may sinseridad ang mga interes ng mga mamamayan sa pamamagitan ng pagtanggal ng lahat ng mga balakid na nagdudulot ng pagbagal ng pagtalakay sa panukalang ito sa prosesong panlehislatura.

Higit sa lahat, iniimbitahan namin ang aming mga kapwa lider sa hanay ng kabataan na sumama sa amin sa pagtitiyak ng pagsasabatas ng Freedom of Information Bill na magpapalakas ng demokrasya at babaguhin ang pamahalaan para maging tunay na instrumento ng panlipunang katwiran at kaunlaran.

“Dapat kilalanin ang karapatan ng taong-bayan na mapagbatiran hinggil sa mga bagay-bagay na may kinalaman sa tanan.  Ang kaalaman sa mga opisyal na rekord, at sa mga dokumento at papeles tungkol sa mga opisyal na gawain, transaksyon, o pasya, gayon din sa mga datos sa pananaliksik ng pamahalaan na pinagbabatayan ng patakaran sa pagpapaunlad ay dapat ibigay sa mamamayan sa ilalim ng mga katakdaang maaaring itadhana ng batas.” - Artikulo III (Katipunan ng mga Karapatan), Seksyon 7, Saligang Batas ng Republika ng Pilipinas, 1987

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