Reference: Rikki Mathay
September 4, 2013

Sen. JV to Palace: Prioritize FOI Bill

Senator JV Ejercito has asked Malacanang to certify as urgent the proposed Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill, which he has been pushing consistently even he was still congressman during the last 15th Congress.

“What is really the position of the Palace? Since 2010, it was one of the promised legislations by the administration but it was not passed,” Senator Ejercito asked Palace officials during the hearing for the proposed FOI Bill by the Senate Committee on Information and Mass Media.

“Had the President certified the FOI Bill as urgent, we at the House of Representatives then could have passed it. But unfortunately, Malacanang seems to be no longer prioritizing the FOI that is why I am asking now the Palace officials present here in the hearing what is the priority of Malacanang regarding FOI,” Senator Ejercito added.

Senator Ejercito is one of the proponents of the proposed FOI Bill in the Senate, following his filing of the proposed Senate Bill 217, or the Freedom of Information Act of 2013, an act to strengthen the right of citizens to information held by the government.

The young legislator said he is hoping that the FOI Bill will be consolidated and passed eventually in the present 16th Congress.

“If there is FOI, scams like the pork barrel scandal could have been prevented,” Sen. Ejercito said, adding that FOI promotes transparency especially in government projects.

The senator added the Philippine Constitution upholds the people’s right to know and be informed about all policies, projects and programs of government that involve the use of taxpayer’s money. (END)