LP solon wants FOI bill to be the first legacy of 15th Congress

July 12, 2010 10:36 pm 

MANILA, July 12 — A Liberal Party (LP) stalwart in the House of Representatives has vowed for the early passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill and make it the "very first legacy" of the 15th Congress under the administration of President Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III.

Quezon Rep. Lorenzo "Erin" Tanada, who is perceived to become the House majority leader, on Monday said the proposed measure is long overdue having been a product of several discussions in the past Congresses.

The FOI bill passed the bicameral conference committee of the 14th Congress but failed to be enacted in the final session day of the House of Representatives due to lack of quorum.

For the incoming 15th Congress, Tanada said he will file the FOI bill entitled "An Act implementing the right of the people to information on matters of public concern guaranteed under Section 7, Article 3 of the 1987 Constitution and the state policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest under Section 28, Article 2 of the 1987 Constitution, and for other purposes."

"The approval of the FOI bill by the 15th Congress will add on and enhance the nation’s democratic ideals and further empower the people," he said.

Tanada said the new bill expands its scope in terms of government agencies as well as information covered.

The measure will also push for a clear, uniform and speedy procedure for access to information and a proscription against excessive costs of access to information, he noted.

Tanada said the bill will enable a system of accessible and speedy remedies that may be resorted to by a citizen who has been denied access to information.

The proposed measure would also mandate to promote a culture of openness within the government.

The bill also provides a clear administrative, criminal and civil liability for violation of the right to information, the Quezon solon said.

"This bill is the very enabling law that the Constitution so mandated legislature to provide more than 20 years ago. I see no reason for any delay in the passage of this measure," he said. (PNA)

DCT/LGI/utb

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