FOI bill lost because it lacked Aquino’s support
The article “FOI: Waiting for the Hail Mary Pass” (Inquirer.net, 1/25/13) by Walden Bello was an informative piece clearly stating the advantages and the role of the freedom of information (FOI) bill in a democracy. I like the way he constructed his thoughts about the FOI, and its relationship to democracy and to our country’s bureaucracy.
Sadly, the “Hail Mary Pass” did not sail through the 15th Congress. It seems like our government just doesn’t want to give to our people what is due them—democracy and the power to access government information. The passage of the FOI bill would have proved that the Philippines is a genuine democratic state, it would have also helped us attain our national development goals.
But the bill won’t score any “touchdown” without the help of Malacañang or the President’s certification. Ironically, President Aquino’s mother, former President Cory Aquino, is perceived as an icon of democracy; for his part, P-Noy doesn’t seem to be keen on the passage of the FOI bill.
I asked myself, “Are we really a democratic country? Did the Edsa Revolution bring back democracy to our country or was it a mere transfer of power from one oligarch to another?” There are a lot of things in our history that we are unsure of. As long as the people don’t have access to public information, there will always be doubts, lies and coverups. And we might never get to the bottom of things when it comes to our government.
Our legislators should veer away from protecting their own political interests; they should instead embody selfless service for the country’s sake (as what they always publicly avow during electoral campaigns).
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