13 November 2012

[FYI in Manila Standard Today] Make-or-break move on FOI bill

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[Deputy Speaker Erin] Tañada, principal author of the freedom of information bill, had complained about the House leadership’s lack of support and Evardone’s excuses that there was “no available room” for his panel to hold public hearings.

Today, the Evardone panel is set to discuss and vote on the bill and submit the committee report for plenary debate.

Tañada warned that if the bill is not passed by December, it is doomed and would have to be refiled in the 16th Congress.

Civil society groups on Monday held rallies near Malacanang on Monday to urge Congress and the Palace to pass the bill.

The Freedom from Debt Coalition, The FoI Youth Initiative (FYI) and the Right to Know, Right Now! held rallies and demanded no more excuses and denounced the “delaying tactics from those who fear transparency and accountability.”

The FYI, spearheaded by the UP Diliman CSSP Student Council, also launched the “Bantay Batasan para sa FoI” to monitor the legislators actions or inaction on the bill.

The FYI is a growing national network of 46 youth and student organizations that are committed to campaigning for the passage of the FoI bill.

At least 46 student leaders from the UP System, De La Salle University and Adamson University signed a manifesto urging the immediate passage of the FoI bill.

“We urge our legislators, especially the members of the Committee on Public Information, to rally behind this measure to show that they truly represent the Filipino people in our desire for a government that is open and honest,” the FYI said in a statement.

The FDC said it believes that an FoI law is a key to freedom from debt and to economic and social justice.

“An FoI Law is a landmark measure that will ensure our constitutional right to information and an effective tool to fight corruption, and will ingrain the culture of transparency and accountability in government,” the FDC said.

“An enlightened citizenry is an empowered one. A people fully aware of their rights and the issues, policies and programs that affect them will be easily galvanized to take action against abuse of power, corruption and bad policies and programs,” the FDC said.

Evardone on Monday said he expects a “healthy and spirited debate” at today’s public hearing.

The chairman of the public information committee has vowed to endorse the bill for plenary approval before the 15th Congress ends in June 2013. By Christine F. Herrera with Maricel Cruz

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