Hope fading for FOI
From the look of things, the much awaited and long-sought approval of the freedom of information (FOI) bill cannot be attained in the near future.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and the other top men and women of the House of Representatives are busy with other things such as the probable impeachment cases against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and other perceived political nemeses of President Duterte.
Like his predecessors, former presidents Benigno S. Aquino III and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Mr. Duterte has not certified as urgent the passage of the FOI bill. What hinders him from certifying this piece of legislation is beyond the people’s comprehension, considering that FOI will help much in realizing his promise to stamp out corruption in government.
The current administration has made it known that its priority bills concern, among others, the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law and federalism — sadly, no mention of FOI whatsoever.
The President has been batting for changes in the Constitution, especially its economic provisions. Consideration and deliberation of such will surely entail so much time. Charter change is a long, tedious process and it will consume considerable time. It will take months, even years, for a
thorough process of amending the basic law of the land.
The party of the President controls both chambers of the legislature. The Senate has passed its version of FOI, much thanks to Sen. Grace Poe. There is an overwhelming majority of House members who belong to PDP-Laban, the administration party, although they are mostly turncoats and political butterflies. So, I see no justifiable reason why FOI cannot be enacted.
Let not the President and the Speaker lose the chance of leading the enactment of FOI. Mr. President and Mr. Speaker, don’t be a Noynoy Aquino and a Feliciano R. Belmonte Jr. who squandered the chance of bequeathing a legacy, a long clamored FOI, and doomed the fate of a law that will considerably help in curbing corruption in government.
The Filipino people need an FOI law. Now na!
EUSEBIO S. SAN DIEGO, founder, Kaguro and former president, Quezon City Public School Teachers Association
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