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Leni clarifies: Almonte is House committee chair

/ 12:03 AM June 09, 2014

This is in response to the letter titled “FOI looming large, thanks to Grace and Leni” (Opinion, 6/3/14).

Allow me first to express my sincerest gratitude to Eusebio S. San Diego for the kind and encouraging words, and to the Inquirer for publishing his thoughts on the progress of the freedom of information bill.

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I would like to set a detail of the letter straight: Misamis Occidental first district

Rep. Jorge Almonte is the chair of the House committee on public information. I am but one of the authors and a member of the technical working group deliberating on the sections of the FOI bill.

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Through the leadership of Representative Almonte and with the help of fellow FOI advocates, the bill has progressed despite the variety of opinions and propositions brought up during public hearings.

I agree with San Diego: An FOI law is indeed long overdue. In some ways, national government agencies and a number of local government units in the country have made an effort to become transparent to their constituents. The Department of Budget and Management and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, for example, have issued circulars directing full disclosure of financial transactions in the executive branch as well as in the LGUs. Localities like Naga City in Camarines Sur have set up transparency boards where their government dealings are posted conspicuously in public places that can be accessed 24/7.

These efforts, however, are issuances susceptible to change or abolition as leadership quickly rotates. An FOI law will address this predicament and, more importantly, mandate all government instrumentalities—both local and national—to disclose information to the public.

Please rest assured that the chair and I, and my fellow FOI advocates, are working very hard for the passage of this bill.

Again, I would like to thank San Diego and the Inquirer for continuously shedding light on this matter.

—REP. MARIA LEONOR GERONA-ROBREDO,

Third District, Camarines Sur

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