27 November 2012

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 TaƱada, 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.

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