09 October 2012

An Informed Filipino is an Empowered Filipino! MOVE U.P. Calls for the Passage of the Freedom of Information Bill

An informed citizen is an empowered citizen. The fight for transparency and accountability, and the fight against corruption are not mutually exclusive things. If we want to empower the citizenry, we must give them access to information that would encourage and enable them to make sure that those they elect to public office are doing what they areelected to do. This can only happen if citizens themselves are given access to public records relevant to fighting corruption. Through the currently proposed Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill, we may finally address this need for a law that will promote “openness” in the government and will empower citizens to fight for a transparent and accountable government.

Article III Section 7 of the Philippine Constitution states that “(T)he right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized”, and yet this very right guarded by the Constitution itself, is not being given enough attention by our lawmakers--there is no legislation that sets the procedures for access and disclosure of information and provides penalties for officials who fail to release the requested information, without justifiable reasons. Despite numerous efforts to pass such measure, none of these saw the light of day. Those who delay such endeavors are obviously protecting their vested interests in the positions they hold. 

We must enact the FOI Bill. If our lawmakers are true to their goal of ending poverty and fighting corruption, let the FOI Bill be the measure of their intentions. After all, transparency and accountability are but prerequisites of an ethical leadership. Their action or inaction to pass a bill that will benefit the nation would reasonably define their stand on the right to be informed, and ultimately, the transparency and accountability of the government as a whole.

We, in MOVE U.P., call for the passage of the FOI Bill. We strongly believe that the FOI Bill is a measure that will ensure a transparent and accountable government, and ultimately, an empowered citizenry. The government must continually regain the trust of its people, and must ensure participation by its stakeholders. The government must see to it that all efforts are made in ending corruption. We do not need another public spectacle to enrage the people; we need a law that will reinforce the need to make all public officials accountable to the people.

FYI, the FOI is OUR issue too! We encourage everyone, particularly, the youth, to study the FOI bill, see how it is doing in Congress, participate in movements that call for its passage, and call on their representatives to support it.

An Informed Filipino is an Empowered Filipino! 
Pass the Freedom of Information Bill!

Movement of Students for Progressive Leadership in UP (MOVE UP) is a partner organization of the FOI Youth Initiative (FYI)

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