05 February 2013

[FYI in The Freeman (Philippine Star)] Youth orgs push for FOI passage

by AJ de la Torre with Marigold Lebumfacil/MBG (The Freeman) 

CEBU, Philippines - Representatives of youth organizations challenged members of the House of Representatives to prove their fight against corruption by continually pushing for the approval of the Freedom of  Information (FOI) bill.

Together with the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) and Sanlakas Cebu, officers of the Union of Progressive Students (UPS), the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines and the Cebuano Youth Ambassadors stressed on the need for the passage of the bill before the House of Representatives take a recess on February 9.

Rarry Abatol, FOI campaign head of UPS, said that as they push for transparency in school governments, the local and national government should also do their part considering President Benigno Aquino’s thrust to fight corruption.

Abatol expressed their strong support for the FOI Youth Initiative (FYI), a network of youth and student organizations that call for transparency and accountability in government through the passage of the FOI bill.

 “We believe that the FOI law is a measure that shall curb corruption and advance participatory governance that will ultimately benefit each and every Filipino. We appeal to Malacañang to not merely express support for the FOI bill but to strongly push for its enactment in fulfillment of its promise of change under the administration of President Benigno Aquino III,” FYI’s statement read.

Abatol expressed the urgent need for the bill to be passed into a law, as the Philippines is being left behind other countries that have been seeing the advantage of the bill in terms of eliminating corruption.

Rep. Rachel “Cutie” del Mar, one of the authors of the FOI bill, is grateful for the support of the youth groups.

“I’m happy about this development, I agree and I’m supporting the bill, since I am the author of it as well,” said del Mar.

Rep. Tomas Osmeña, for his part, confirms that he would vote for the bill.

“I don’t have to prove anything but I believe in transparency and would vote for FOI,” said Osmeña.

Rep. Gabriel Luis Quisumbing of Cebu’s 6th district is also supporting the bill.

“I fully support the FOI bill and am still hopeful that it can be passed before congress adjourns.  There is no higher priority than empowerment of the citizenry through transparency,” Quisumbing said in a text message to The FREEMAN.

Aaron Pedrosa, secretary general of FDC, believe that there is still time for the bill to progress even with a few days remaining before the 15th congress ends.

Pedrosa said that with Aquino’s leadership and platform against corruption, the FOI should have been made as an urgent bill.

“It is only but fitting to be consistent,” Pedrosa said.

Sanlakas Spokesperson Teody Navea said that they find it ironic that the president has not made the bill urgent since it supports his cause for a clean government.

Last week, Quezon City Representative Erin Tañada, one of the authors of the bill, said that President Aquino might be open to certifying the measure as urgent as he continually monitors the proceedings for the bill.

Party-list Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption Representative Sherwin Tugna encouraged Filipinos who are seeking for the approval of the bill to join in and let their call be heard by the President to make the bill urgent. 

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