18 July 2013

[FYI in Media ng Bayan] Coalition of 24 groups files “People’s FOI Bill” at Senate

MANILA, July 18 (PNA) – A coalition of 24 organizations trooped on Wednesday at the Philippine Senate to file its petition for indirect initiative for the passage of its People’s Freedom of Information Bill.

Described themselves as Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition, the group filed their petition which was similar to the one it filed at the House of Representatives last July 1.

"The Indirect Initiative is a mechanism under Republic Act 6735 (Initiative and Referendum Law) empowering people's organizations to directly propose a bill to Congress," the FOI Youth Initiative (FYI) said in its statement.

The FOI Youth Initiative (FYI) is a network of youth and student organizations that call for transparency and accountability in government through the immediate passage of the FOI in the country.

The People’s FOI bill is expected to boost the campaign of Senators Teofisto ‘TG’ Guingona III and Alan Peter Cayetano to finally pass the FOI bill in the 16th Congress which opens on Monday.

Guingona and Cayetano have already filed their respective version of the FOI bill early this month, supporting all calls for complete transparency in the government's transactions and processes.

The highest stage the Freedom of Information Act has reached so far is the Bicameral Conference Committee Report which was ratified in the Senate but failed to do so in Congress for lack of quorum on the final session day of the 14th Congress.

The coalition is composed of Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK), Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM), National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO), Social Watch Philippines, Focus on the Global South—Philippines, Transparency and Accountability Network (TAN) and Peace Women Partners.

Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) is also part of the coalition along with Prudentialife Warriors Pilipinas, Filipino Migrant Workers Group (FMWG), Aksyong Kabayanihan sa Organisadong Pagbabago (ANGKOP), Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), Ang Kapatiran Party, Action for Economic Reforms, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA), Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), Woman Health Philippines, Partido ng Mangagawa, Bantay Kita, Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), and FOI Youth Initiative (FYI).

The FOI Youth Initiative has at least 116 partner organizations from the country’s private and state universities, including University of the Philippines and Ateneo. (Jelly F. Musico/Media ng Bayan)

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