27 November 2012

FYI on the November 27 hearing: Celebrating a Victory and Continuing our Vigilance

After the victory at the House Committee on Public Information earlier today, the FOI Youth Initiative (FYI) believes that the Freedom of Information Bill still has a chance to be enacted into law this 15th Congress. However, we recognize that there are still many difficult hurdles to cross, specifically the continuing insistence of some legislators to include a Right of Reply provision in the FOI Bill. 

The fight to ensure that the committee will come to a vote on the measure was clearly no walk in the park since Rep. Rodolfo Antonino and other pro-Right of Reply legislators spent most of the time bashing the media in trying to build up their cause. We would like to congratulate and thank pro-FOI legislators led by Rep. Erin TaƱada, Rep. Walden Bello, Rep. Kaka Bag-ao, Rep. Teddy Baguilat, and many others who did not falter amid the attempts to once again delay a vote on the bill. 

We in the FYI will firmly stand against any move that will attempt to distort a proposed law for transparency by turning it into a measure that violates our Constitution with the inclusion of a Right of Reply provision. Having such shall make the bill contain two subjects, which is violative of Article VI, Section 26.1 of the highest law of the land. Moreover, it is a regulation that seeks to control press freedom, which, again, is contrary to our Constitution that says that “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press… (Article III, Section 4).” 

We in the FYI, with 59 youth organizations and student councils from across the nation, will remain vigilant in watching the words and actions of our elected officials in both Houses of Congress. The struggle is far from over, and we, young leaders, shall never waver in our call.

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