Journos still hoping for PNoy to take up FOI

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

ON THE 4th State of the Nation Address (Sona) today, Monday, Davao City journalists and broadcasters said they still hope that President Benigno S. Aquino III will speak about the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill although some doubt that he ever will.

Sun.Star Davao gathered the opinion of some Davao journalists and broadcasters, as well as other professionals, on their expectations from PNoy's 4th Sona today.

"I hope he will finally talk about the freedom of information bill, better if he'll announce that he would sign the FOI petition," said Vina Araneta-Pilapil, ABS-CBN Davao reporter.


Rhona Goc-ong Villariasa, senior reporter of Sun.Star Superbalita Davao, said she is also looking forward that PNoy will discuss about FOI.

“Misaad siya nga he will push through ani before his term ends, sana tumanon, unta lang. Besides ang balaudnon alang sa kaayuhan and sa mas transparent nga pang gobyerno,” she said.

Joey Sy-Domingo, a media practitioner and a Communication Arts professor of University of Immaculate Conception, said “Freedom of Information will be one of his legacies. His focus has always been graft and corruption. FOI will help eliminate corruption in the bureaucracy.”

On the other hand, Jef Tupas, 105.9 Balita FM news director, said: “He will spew claimed successes against corruption and transparency, his slogan, of course -- with how the government handled corruption and plunder charges against senators Revilla, Estrada, Enrile, and businesswoman Janet Napoles. But it will naturally boomerang to him, these claims, with how his administration defends DAP with its own life.”

“What I am expecting are carefully strung lies and illusions. Whatever happened to FOI? The peace in Mindanao is also hanging on the brink of a deadly ravine -- with BBL yet to be forwarded to Congress. The President will be telling us fiction on Monday. Thanks to his writers,” Tupas added.

Ace Morandante, photojournalist of Davao Today, echoed the same.

He said “I don’t think Pnoy will talk about the FOI bill on his Sona this coming Monday. The mere fact that there is a widespread corruption in his administration, he will not talk about this bill.”

Aquino assured the public that the “FOI bill will be passed into law before the end of his term.”

However, he said he “cannot certify it as urgent because the Constitution requires an emergency.”

The FOI bill remains stalled in the House of Representatives and has yet to have a consolidated version since its many versions are still with the technical working group (TWG).

Meanwhile, Councilor Mary Joselle Villafuerte said she remains hopeful with Aquino.

“I campaigned and voted for him. I am still hoping he succeeds deep in my heart. But he is not listening to his "boss" lately, he is wasting the overwhelming trust and faith our people gave to him in 2010,” she said.

Sly Maranga, branch manager of Asia United Bank (AUB) Damosa, said she expects the president will talk more about the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and what are the status of the cases filed against the senators who are not under the Liberal party.

Louie Bryan Lapat, writer CIO Tagum, said “While it's expected that President Aquino will trumpet his administration's achievements, I hope the President can also present a believable mechanism on how these will trickle down to the grassroots level, and not just benefit the few sectors of the society. I also hope he can present before members of the Congress legislative measures they can work on to make inclusive growth possible.”

Faith Syting, secondary instructor of Mati National Comprehensive High School, said “I expect to hear salary increase in both public and private sectors...according to him, umaangat na tayo pero it can't be felt especially by Filipinos who are still living below poverty line.”

Matias Regis, youth volunteer for Mindanaoan Youth Development Center, said “I expect the same old tune sa SONA, repetition of the term tuwid na daan which never became evident in the past four years, progress reports and surveys which are not felt by the common Pinoys. If he will be touching the subject of DAP, it will surely be on the defense of it and would probably feature projects and accomplished which are allegedly accomplished through DAP. There may also be mention of disaster management accomplishments, and I just hope a real report on Yolanda victims would surface, sana lang di fabricated.”

Councilor Bernard Al-ag said expects a Sona “with full of defensive statements about the DAP issue and offensive statements about the PDAF issue.”

“But I am hoping he will stop dwelling on these issues but rather focus on developmental issues like poverty and heath care,” he said.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 28, 2014.

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