Malacañang-backed watered-down FOI bill opposed by campus media
The campus press opposes the passage of the watered-down, Malacañang-backed Freedom of Information (FOI) bill. Instead of facilitating people’s access to public documents and information, the consolidated FOI bill spells more restrictions and, if enacted, will hide more government documents from Filipinos clamoring for transparency in the bureaucracy.
In the consolidated FOI bill, citizens wishing to look into the wealth and lifestyle of public servants will have limited or no access to certain documents, such as statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN). Aside from that, the bill will give the president too much power over the matter of what documents and information may be made available to the public.
We acknowledge the need to hold in confidentiality concerns on national security and tactical military information. But the restrictions stipulated in the consolidated FOI bill worries the campus press as these jeopardize the democratic right of the people to information and participate in policy-making.
The Filipino people’s long wait for a genuine legislation to allow unrestrained exercise of the freedom of information should not be put in vain. Let us uphold government transparency and a strong and genuine FOI legislation.
—MARC LINO J. ABILA,
College Editors Guild
of the Philippines,
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