Last Nov. 26, the House of Representatives’ committee on public information held its second meeting where it tackled the various Freedom of Information (FOI) bills. We, youth leaders, attended the hearing and were able to witness the discussions and various manifestations from the committee members. (For almost a decade, FOI advocates have been campaigning in every Congress for a transparent and accountable government. And they are wary of those who wish to delay the enactment of an FOI law.)
During the discussions, Diwa Partylist Rep. Em Aglipay motioned for the chair to mandate the would-be Technical Working Group to finish the consolidation of the FOI bills by the second week of February next year. From this point, arguments were raised and clarifications were made.
Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello’s words were music to our ears: “We have to show to Malacañang that we are serious in getting through the passage of the bill.” With a vote of 10-5, the committee approved Aglipay’s motion.
The FOI Youth Initiative, a network of youth organizations advocating the passage of the People’s FOI, is grateful to the members of the House who do not tire in fighting for the people’s right to know. In the midst of all the subtle delaying tactics of its anti-FOI members, the FOI champions consistently and selflessly show how they firmly heed the call of the people they represent.
Just like how Katniss Everdeen has sparked an uprising, we hope that we, the youth, could inspire others to fight for our constitutionally guaranteed rights. And indeed, in this struggle, hope is stronger than fear.
—ALLAN PANGILINAN, convener, FOI Youth Initiative (FYI)/councilor, UP Diliman CSSP Student Council, firstname.lastname@example.org