MANILA, Aug 27 (PNA) — There was one easy way to find out how officials spent public funds, Sen. Joseph Ejercito said Tuesday, and it was through the passage of the proposed Freedom of Information Act of 2013 or SB 217.
Ejercito urged fellow legislators to pass the proposed bill he filed, stressing that it could just be a good preventive measure against scams and illegal transactions in government institutions.
“If there is FOI, scams like the ‘pork barrel’ scandal could have been prevented,” Ejecito said, stressing that it was sad that the bill remained “perpetually stuck in the legislative mill.”
He explained that the right to information was protection against government abuse as it also has the power to make government accountable.
“It is time we dissolve the shroud of shadow that covers these government transactions,” Ejercito said, adding that the FOI was one of the best ways to restore the faith of the people to the government, particularly the Senate and House of Representatives.
“We need to let the people know,” he added. “It is their right to be informed, especially in projects of the government since it’s taxpayers’ money that is being spent for these programs.”
Ejercito said that the FOI was necessary for pork barrel as well as other major budget items like the Conditional Cash Transfer program and the Special Purposes Fund.
He further said the FOI should be part of the government’s push for reforms. (PNA)