Quantcast

Who framed and who killed the FOI bill?


Much to the dismay and consternation of well-meaning and good intentioned sectors of Philippine society, the House of  Representatives failed to pass the long-awaited freedom of information (FOI) bill. And what an unfortunate coincidence: The decision of the House to consign the FOI to the bin of unacted measures happened in the heels of the just concluded international conference of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (Gopac), which was hosted by the Philippines and attended by several leaders and members of both the Senate and the House.

That the 15th Congress chose not to enact the FOI gives credence to the suspicion and allegation that the “lower house” of the legislature is just paying lip service to the anticorruption campaign of the present administration. And its members do not really and truly support the “daang matuwid” crusade spearheaded and led by President Aquino.

Why not? For one, the FOI is supposed to give media and the citizens unfettered access to government records—especially those that concern transactions involving funds and expenditures (except those that might jeopardize national security).

All these boil down to transparency and accountability in public service, which are enshrined in the Constitution that was overwhelmingly ratified by the Filipino people 26 years ago, on Feb. 2, 1987 to be exact. And this transparency is a deterrent and antidote to the commission of graft and corruption, a lingering ailment that has long afflicted government bureaucracy.

The Senate had approved its version of the FOI bill, but the House did not heed the people’s clamor for the passage of the anticorruption measure. And to think that the leadership of that chamber is headed by a former newspaperman, and the House committee on public information is chaired by another former member of the Fourth Estate!

The incurable optimists in us might allow the comforting thought that the 16th Congress may yet enact an FOI law. But if we go by the words of the House Speaker, it appears that the FOI is not a priority legislative measure. Consider the fact that after the enactment of the Reproductive Health Law, the Speaker was so euphoric that he exclaimed that a divorce law would be next.
Heaven forbid, the people’s “right to know, right now!” clamor seems to be doomed.

—EUSEBIO S. SAN DIEGO,

founder, Kaguro and former president,

Quezon City Public School Teachers Association, essandiego@ymail.com


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Short URL: http://opinion.inquirer.net/?p=47241

Tags: congress , FOI Bill , Freedom of Information , House of Representatives , laws



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

  • UN warns banana fungus spreading from Southeast Asia
  • Massive infra spending set
  • ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  • Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  • Our Lady of Piat: Centerpiece of Cagayan’s gifts to Christianity
  • Sports

  • Federer would skip tennis to be with wife, newborn
  • Manny Pacquiao in PBA? If so, he’ll wear No. 17
  • PSC sets Blu Girls US training
  • Power Pinoys settle for 7th place
  • Successful coaches to get raise
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • The truffled mac ‘n’ cheese, eggs benedict, chicken leg confit are excellent
  • Entertainment

  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • ‘Community’ star happy with return of show’s creator
  • Jealousy is kid stuff
  • Mommy-daughter adventure continues
  • Business

  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Number of retrenched workers rose by 42% in ’13
  • PH seen to sustain rise in FDIs
  • Gov’t subsidies to state firms fell in first 2 months
  • Technology

  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Another reason to quit social media this Holy Week: your safety
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
  • Milpitas, California kids wrap up a successful run of ‘The Wiz’
  • Netizens welcome Japan’s visa-free travel plan
  • Marketplace