02 December 2012

FOI Bill: Certify Urgent! [Statement of the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition]

The Freedom of Information bill (FOI) in the Senate and in the House of Representatives has advanced despite the odds, having passed the respective committees.  FOI is now at a critical juncture, which will determine its passage in this 15th Congress. 

Given that time is running out in the 15th Congress, we appeal to the Senate and House leadership, as well as to the Executive, to accord its passage the urgency it deserves.

It is within their powers to pass the FOI bill in the 15th Congress despite the time constraint.

The Senators can make good their earlier commitments to pass the FOI bill. They must find time to proceed with interpellation, amendments, and passage on second and third reading before they adjourn for the December break.

In the House of Representatives, the Committee on Rules, through the Majority Leader, is empowered to declare a bill urgent, and to set the number of days or hours to be allotted for the consideration of the bill in plenary, and when vote on the bill shall be taken. 

To start the process, we demand that Rep. Evardone gives justice to the 17 members of the House who voted to approve the committee report last November 27, by submitting it to plenary today (Monday, December 3). The House leadership must then include the FOI bill in the Order of Business beginning this week. 

On the part of the Executive, President Aquino can certify to the necessity of its immediate enactment, as he did with the Sin Tax Bill. This will place the FOI bill on par with the highest priority measures of Congress, and save it the delay from the interval of days needed in passing bills on second and third readings.

We take this opportunity to thank and congratulate the FOI champions who succeeded in having the committee report approved by the House committee, despite the odds. Principally, we recognize the leadership of Quezon Rep. Erin Tañada and the crucial interventions by Akbayan Reps. Walden Bello and Kaka Bag-ao, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, CIBAC Reps. Cinchona Cruz-Gonzales and Sherwin Tugna, and Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño.

We also express our heartfelt gratitude for the other regular, deputized and ex-officio members of the Committee on Public Information who answered the call for an affirmative vote on the FOI consolidated bill. They are Cebu 1st District Rep. Rachel Marguerite del Mar, Bagong Henerasyon Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy, Kabataan Rep Raymond Palatino, AAMBIS-OWA Rep. Sharon Garin, Basilan Rep. Jim Hataman-Salliman, Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano, DIWA Rep. Emmeline Aglipay, Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe, An Waray Rep. Neil Benedict Montejo, and Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo.

In plenary, we appeal to the proponents of the Right of Reply to allow the passage of the FOI. We urge them to pursue their Right of Reply advocacy independent of the FOI bill's passage. Constitutional and public policy issues remain unresolved around the Right of Reply, which should be fully deliberated in the separate measures also filed with Rep. Evardone's committee, with all the stakeholders consulted extensively.

We will support reasonable amendments to the FOI bill, like the provision on safeguard against abuse proposed by Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy. We will likewise support an amendment that will address the concern of the Department of National Defense over the time gap between the repeal of the existing information classification guidelines and the promulgation of the new classification guidelines as provided under the bill. 

Beyond this, all that remains for the 15th Congress is the fulfillment of a solemn promise to the people to pass the long-overdue Freedom of Information Act.

Signed (02 December 2012):
[FOI Youth Initiative (FYI) partner organization signatories are in blue.]

1. Atty. Nepomuceno Malaluan
Co-Director, Institute for Freedom of Information and
Co-Convenor, Right to Know. Right Now! Coalition

2. Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo, DD 
Chairman, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines - National Secretariat for Social Action-Justice and Peace (CBCP-NASSA)

3. Ms. Malou Mangahas
Executive Director, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism

4. Mr. Peter Angelo V. Perfecto
Executive Director, Makati Business Club

5. Ms. Annie Geron
General Secretary, Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK)

6. Prof. Luis Teodoro
Deputy Director, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility

7. Mr. Josua Mata
Secretary General, Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL)

8. Ms. Yuen Abana
Campaign Coordinator, Partido ng Manggagawa

9. Ms. Clarissa V. Militante
 Coordinator, Focus on the Global South, Philippines Programme

10. Mr. Jun Aguilar
Mr. Elso Cabangon
Filipino Migrant Workers Group

11. Mr. Max M. De Mesa
Chairperson, Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)

12. Mr. Ramon R. Tuazon, President
Florangel Rosario-Braid, President Emeritus & Senior Adviser

Ms. Madeline B. Quiamco, Dean
Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication

13. Atty. Roberto Eugenio Cadiz 
Executive Director, Libertás

14. Mr. Alwyn Alburo, Vice Chairman
Ms. Rowena Paraan, Secretary-General
National Union of Journalists of the Philippines

15. Prof. Leonor M. Briones
Lead Covenor, Social Watch Philippines

16. Ms. Maxine Tanya Hamada
Executive Director, International Center for Innovation, Transformation and Excellence in Governance (INCITEGov)

17. Mr. Ariel Sebellino
Executive Director, Philippine Press Institute

18. Dr. Edna A. Co
Professor, University of the Philippines Diliman

19. Mr. Norman Cabrera, Secretary General
Mr. John Carlos G. de los Reyes, Candidate for Senator (2013)
Mr. Rizalito Y. David, Candidate for Senator (2013)
Atty. Marwil Llasos, Candidate for Senator (2013)
Mr. Carlos Cabochan,  Candidate for Representative, 2nd District of Caloocan City (2013)
Mr. Harry Tambuatco,  Candidate for Representative, Lone district of Muntinlupa city (2013)
Mr. Edilberto M. Cuenca,  Candidate for Representative, 1st District of Makati City (2013)
Mr. Frank Reyes, Candidate for Representative, Lone District of Mandaluyong City (2013)
Ang Kapatiran Party

20. Atty. Eirene Jhone Aguila
FOI and New Politics Advocate

21. Ms. Joy Aceron
Program Director, Government Watch/ PODER, Ateneo School of Government

22. Mr. Sixto Donato C. Macasaet
Executive Director, Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO)

23. Ms. Jenina Joy Chavez
Southeast Asia Monitor for Action

24. Mr. Vincent Lazatin
Executive Director, Transparency and Accountability Network

25. Dr. Segundo Romero
Program Director, Ateneo School of Government

26. Mr. Ricardo Reyes
President, Freedom from Debt Coalition

27. Dr. Joseph Anthony Lim
Professor, Economics Department, Ateneo De Manila University

28. Dr. J. Prospero de Vera
Professor, UPNCPAG
Executive Director, Pimentel Institute for Leadership and Governance

29. Mr. Bong Fabe
Freelance journalist

30. Atty. Risa Halagueña
Fellow, Action for Economic Reforms

31. Sr. Cres Lucero, SFIC, Co-Chairperson
Mr. Emmanuel Amistad, Executive Director
Task Force Detainees of the Philippines

32. Atty. Corazon Valdez Fabros
Lead Convenor, Stop the War Coalition Philippines

33. Ms. Ana Maria R. Nemenzo, National Coordinator
Ms. Mercy Fabros, Advocacy and Campaign Coordinator
Ms. May-i Fabros, Coordinator of Young Women Collective
Ms. Rosheic Sims, Assistant Coordinator of Young Women Collective
WomanHealth Philippines

34. Mr. Rolando Ocampo
Spokesperson, Prudentialife Warriors/Movement for Change and Good Governance

35. Ms. Cielo Magno
Coordinator, Bantay Kita

36. Mr. Red Batario, Executive Director
Ms. G. Sevilla Alvarez, Program Director
Center for Community Journalism and Development

37. Mr. Isagani R. Serrano
President, Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement

38. Dr. Sylvia Estrada-Claudio
Director, University of the Philippines Center for Women’s Studies.

39. Ms. Jessica Reyes-Cantos
Lead Convenor, Rice Watch and Action Network

40. Ms. Ellene Sana
 Executive Director, Center for Migrant Advocacy

41. Mr. Jaybee Garganera, 
National Coordinator, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM)

42. Mr. Jong Pacanot
Secretary General, Freedom from Debt Coalition - Southern Mindanao

43. Ms. Evita L. Jimenez 
Executive Director, Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG)

44. Ms. Andrea Maria Patricia Sarenas 
Chairperson, Mindanao Coalition of Development NGO Networks (MINCODE)

45. Fr. Albert E. Alejo, SJ
Ehem Anticorruption Program

46. Mr. Jason Alacapa
Chairperson, University Student Council (UPM USC), UP Manila

47. Ms. Jean Enriquez 
Executive Director, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Asia Pacific

48. Dr. Nymia Pimentel Simbulan
Executive Director, PhilRights

49. Atty. Ray Paolo J. Santiago
Executive Director, Ateneo Human Rights Center

50. Ms. Zenaida S. Mique
Executive Director, Claimants 1081

51. Sr. Nelda L. Balaba, OND
Program Coordinator, Justice and Peace Desk – Social Action Center, Diocese of Marbel

52. Ms. Marjorie Anne Yoro
Suprema, UP Kabataang Pilosopo Tasyo (KaPiTas), UP Diliman

53. Ms. Moses Albiento
Chairperson, Alliance of Student Leaders (ASL), Ateneo de Manila University

54. Mr. Joseph Angelo Gutierrez
Chairperson, Movement of Students for Progressive Leadership in UP (MOVE UP), UP Los Baños

55. Mr. Tristan Daine Zinampan
Chairperson, Linking Everyone Towards Service CDC (LETS CDC), College of Development Communication, UP Los Baños

56. Ms. Mary Ann Fuertes
Executive Director, Interface Development Interventions, Inc. (Davao City)

57. Atty. Arvin A. Jo
Focal Person, The Access Initiative - Philippines

58. Ms. April Lamentillo
Supremo, Sandigan ng mga Iskolar para sa Nagkakaisang CAS (SINAG CAS), College of Arts and Sciences, UP Los Baños

59. Mr. Curt Russel Lopez Delfin
President, Metro Manila Alliance of Communication Students (MACS)

60. Mr. John Mark Salvador
President, Bagong Benilde, De La Salle - College of Saint Benilde

61. Mr. Van Battad
President, UP Sirkulo ng mga Kabataang Artista (SIKAT), UP Diliman

62. Ms. Luisa Lioanag
Bos Tsip-Tsip, UP Bukluran sa Sikolohiyang Pilipino (Buklod-Isip), UP Diliman

63. Ms. Starjoan Villanueva
Executive Director, Alternate Forum for Research in Mindanao

64. Mr. Joseph Purugganan
Coordinator, EU-ASEAN FTA Network

65. Ms. Patricza Torio
Tagapangulo, UP Lipunang Pangkasaysayan (LIKAS), UP Diliman

66. Ms. Marian Bahalla
Chairperson, Laban COC Party, College of Communication, Polytechnic University of the Philippines

67. Mr. Arjay Mercado
President, UP Economics Towards Consciousness (ETC), UP Diliman 

68. Mr. Joshua Layog
Primer, Katipunan CHE, College of Human Ecology, UP Los Baños

69. Ms. Ema Escanilla
Speaker, UP People-Oriented Leadership in the Interest of Community Awareness (UP POLITICA), UP Diliman

70. Mr. Edward Dayog
President, UP Organization of Human Rights Advocates (OHRA), UP Diliman

71. Mr. JC Tejano
National Chairperson, Bukluran ng mga Progresibong Iskolar - UP System (BUKLURAN - UP SYSTEM)

72. Ms. Ara Tan
President, UP Kalipunan ng mga Mag-aaral ng Sosyolohiya (KMS), UP Diliman

73. Mr. Ace Ligsay
Chairperson, UP Alyansa ng mga Mag-aaral para sa Panlipunang Katwiran at Kaunlaran (UP ALYANSA), UP Diliman

74. Mr. Mickey Eva
President, Coalition for Students’ Rights and Welfare (STRAW Coalition)

75. Mr. Carlo Brolagda, Chairperson
Mr. Chris Alquizalas, Councilor
College of Social Sciences and Philosophy Student Council (CSSPSC), UP Diliman / Convenors, FOI Youth Initiative (FYI)

76. Mr. Joshua Young
Chairperson, Bigkis ng mga Iskolar Para sa Bayan Tungo sa Makabuluhang Pagbabago - UPM (BIGKIS-UPM), UP Manila

77. Mr. Viko Fumar
President, BUKLOD CSSP, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, UP Diliman

78. Julliano Fernando A. Guiang
Councilor, University Student Council, UP Diliman
Convenor, Disclose All Records (DARe) Movement

79. Mr. Deg Daupan
President, Alternatibong Katipunan ng mga Mag-aaral (AKMA), UP Baguio

80. Mr. Walter Tamayo
History Department Representative, AngKAS (CSSP History Department Core Group), UP Diliman

81. Mr. Gio Alejo
President, Sanggunian ng mga Paaralang Loyola ng Ateneo de Manila, Ateneo de Manila University

82. Mr. Jose Valencia
President, KASAPI Kaisahan ng Migranteng Manggagawa sa Gresya

83. Mr. Lejun Dela Cruz 
Acting Chairperson, Alab Katipunan

84. Aurora A. Regalado 
Managing Trustee, Management and Organizational Development for Empowerment (MODE)

85. Mr. Renato Dela Cruz
President, Aniban ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (AMA)

86. Mr. Walter Balane
President, Bukidnon Press Club

87. Ms. Sylvia Paraguya 
Chief Executive, National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO)

88. Mr. Pete Pinlac
Chairperson, Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya

89. Mr. Pablo Rosales 
Chairperson, Progresibong Alyansa ng mga Mangingisda

90. Mr. Boy Alban
Chairperson, League of Urban Poor for Action

91. Mr. Jun Pascual
Acting Chairperson, Pambansang Katipunan ng Makabayang Magbubukid

92. Ms. Edeliza Hernandez
Executive Director, Medical Action Group

93. Dr. Renato G. Mabunga 
Chairperson, Human Rights Defenders - Pilipinas

94. Fr. Edwin Gariguez
Coordinating Committee Member, Faith-based Congress Against Immoral Debts

95. Sr. Mary John Mananzan, OSB
Co-chairperson, Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines

96. Mr. Acmad Maruhom-Macatimbol 
Executive Director, Lanao Alliance of Human Rights Advocates

97. Ms. Jennifer Julia Lacaba
President, Animal Concerns and Awareness Club (AC2), University of the Philippines - Visayas Tacloban College

98. Mr. Xander Losaria
Secretary General, SENTRO - La Salle, De La Salle University - Dasmariñas

99. Mr. Wilson Fortaleza
Kampanya para sa Makataong Pamumuhay

100. Prof. Flordeliz L. Abanto 
Broadcast Journalism Coordinator, St. Scholastica's College, Manila

101. Prof. Nelson J. Celis
AES (Automated Election System) Watch

102. Prof. Angelina E. Borican
Journalism Professor, College of Communications
Polytechnic University of the Philippines

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