13 October 2012

Young leaders: “There should always be room for FOI!”; Student council reserves a room in their building for Evardone

UP Diliman CSSP Student Council Chairperson and FYI Convenor Carlo Brolagda holding the
Office of Student Affairs venue reservation form for the House Committee on Public Information.

A student council has taken the initiative to provide a venue for the long-delayed Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill hearing in the House of Representatives. Rep. Ben Evardone, Chair of the House Committee on Public Information, earlier reneged on the initial commitment of holding the meeting within the third week of October. According to earlier reports, Evardone pushed the date to November 13 due to the alleged lack of available rooms in the Batasan Complex to accommodate the hearing for the measure.

“Since he didn’t take up Rep. Erin Tañada’s earlier offer of a committee hearing venue, we took it upon ourselves to give him another choice and another chance,” said Carlo Brolagda, Chairperson of the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy Student Council (CSSPSC) of the University of the Philippines - Diliman and Convenor of the FOI Youth Initiative (FYI).

The FYI is a national network of youth and student organizations pushing for the passage of the bill together with the Right to Know, Right Now Coalition.

The CSSPSC made a request to their Office of Student Affairs to reserve a room large enough to house the members of the Committee on Public Information, as well as observers and guests.

“We simply do not understand the excuse they are making this time. It’s quite silly that the availability of a conference room would greatly affect the survival of a relevant piece of legislation like the FOI Bill,” said CSSPSC Councilor Chris Alquizalas.

Alquizalas further stated, “We understand that time is running out since our elected Representatives would be already busy with their respective campaigns for re-election, but they must also recognize the fact that they still have a responsibility to guarantee the enactment of laws that would ultimately benefit the Filipino people.” 

Brolagda added, “If Rep. Evardone and his committee members change their minds about holding the meeting one whole month from now, we have already prepared the necessary documents for them to be able to secure a room here in Palma Hall for an earlier date within this October. We would even shoulder the costs for the use of the venue. This is how eager we young people are for this law to finally move at the committee level.”

“We in the FOI Youth Initiative cannot accept the reason behind this latest delay on the FOI Bill. In a democratic society, there should always be room for FOI!,” ended Brolagda. 

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