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FOI looming large, thanks to Grace and Leni

12:03 AM June 03, 2014

It is heartwarming to note that the enactment into law of the much-longed-for freedom of information (FOI) bill looms on the horizon never as closely as before. And two female lawmakers, both Congress “neophytes” at that, are making this possible.

In the Senate, Sen. Grace Poe steered the passage of the measure that’s envisioned to help curb graft and corruption in government, as it would give citizens unfettered access to information that deals with budgets and expenditures, as well as with all transactions entered into by government agencies.

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Equally to her credit, Rep. Leni Robredo has been instrumental in making the FOI version in the House of Representatives hurdle the obstacles at the committee on public information which she chairs. Compared to her counterpart in the 15th Congress, Robredo has been firm and determined in pushing for the approval of this piece of legislation. Significantly, she has not attempted, even for a single moment, to “dribble the ball” on the bill whose enactment President Aquino promised during the 2010 presidential election campaign.

An FOI law has long been eagerly awaited by the people since it would provide “flesh and blood” to the principles of transparency and accountability, as applied to public officials and employees in accordance with the mandate of the Constitution.

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Likewise, the approval of the FOI measure is in consonance with the  daang  matuwid (straight path) crusade spearheaded and being pursued by Mr. Aquino since he assumed the presidency in June 2010. (One thing I cannot understand is why he does not certify the FOI bill as urgent.)

At this juncture, we just hope Congress, especially the House, will no longer find any excuses for dilly-dallying the approval of the FOI bill. Indeed, its enactment into law is long overdue. Who knows, the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam would have not happened had FOI been already in effect.

Mapagtibay  na  sana  nang  lubusan  ang  FOI. Mas  maaga,  mas  mabuti  para  sa  bansa  at  sa  sambayanang  Pilipino.

—EUSEBIO S. SAN DIEGO,

founder, Kaguro and former president, Quezon City Public School Teachers Association, [email protected]

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