Netizens told: Pressure House, Malacanang on FOI bill

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

SENATOR Miriam Defensor Santiago on Wednesday asked netizens to put pressure on members of the House of Representatives and the Aquino administration to get the freedom of information (FOI) bill enacted into law.

"I hope that the netizens can exert sufficient, educated public pressure on all these entities to shake a leg and pass the FOI bill because they’ve been passed in several other countries," Santiago told reporters.

The Senate unanimously passed earlier this week its version of the FOI bill.

The House version meanwhile remains pending in the committee level under the technical working group; although Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. had already committed into getting the proposed law approved by the chamber.

Santiago, however, sees a slim chance for the FOI bill in the House.

"I'm very happy that we in the Senate passed the FOI but there are slim chances or dim chances that it will be similarly passed in the HOR (House of Representatives). Plus now, we have an added blow because the President refuses to certify it as urgent," the senator said.

The FOI bill will allow every Filipino citizen to request and be granted access to any record or information that is under the control of the government, subject to reasonable exceptions.

An approved amendment proposed by Santiago also requires the mandatory posting by government agencies in their official websites of the statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) of officials with salary grade 27 or higher.

Santiago hopes President Benigno Aquino III "will eventually come around" on the FOI bill.

Although Malacanang had said that the Aquino administration is in favor of the FOI bill, the President has refused to certify it as an urgent measure. (Sunnex)

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