10 September 2012

Youth leaders: "FOI is our issue, too"

In light of the delay in hearing the consolidated Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill in the House of Representatives, youth groups expressed their desire for the measure to be immediately tackled by the Committee on Public Information chaired by Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone.

Youth leaders recently formed the FOI Youth Initiative or the FYI, a network of organizations and student councils “that believe that transparency and accountability are prerequisites for genuine social transformation.” These groups come from schools such as the University of the Philippines System, the Ateneo de Manila University, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and the College of Saint Benilde.

Carlo Brolagda, one of the FYI’s convenors and the Chairperson of the UPD CSSP Student Council, said that “it is high time that the youth join in the clamor for the FOI to be passed into law. This is our issue, too.”

“We are stakeholders of this country’s future. This is why we should be in solidarity with the campaign for the bill’s enactment,” added Brolagda.

The FYI also voiced out their dismay over the inaction of the Rep. Evardone in allowing the bill to be heard in the Committee. “We don’t buy the excuses. MalacaƱang has already given its support for FOI. They even have their own version. Why Chairman Evardone seems to be dilly-dallying with calendaring the bill is beyond us,” he said.

The group released a manifesto signed by its partner youth and student organizations calling on lawmakers “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.” They also commended the 117 legislators from the House of Representatives who declared their commitment in passing the FOI Bill in a manifesto that was circulated by its authors, Deputy Speaker Erin TaƱada and Rep. Walden Bello.

The FYI vowed to join in efforts of other sectors to lobby for the FOI Bill and to “recruit more young people to the campaign transforming a government that is genuinely transparent and accountable to the Filipino people.”

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