SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
07 April 2021 05:14:32 PM
The House Committee on Public Information chaired by Cagayan Rep. Joseph Lara, in an online meeting on Wednesday, held an initial deliberation and thereafter created a Technical Working Group (TWG) to further discuss and consolidate 19 legislative measures pertaining to the Freedom of Information and strengthening the people's constitutional right of access to information. The TWG to be headed by Committee Vice Chairperson and KABAYAN Partylist Rep. Ron Salo, is set to consolidate HBs 12, 51, 226, 644, 712, 813, 837, 1302, 1487, 1608, 1625, 1975, 3063, 4570, 4673, 5566, 5776, 7219 and 7229. In July 2016, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed Executive Order No. 2, operationalizing in the Executive Department the people’s constitutional right to information and state policies, to full public disclosure, and to transparency in the public service. In his opening statement, Lara said that these measures also seek to put in place an enabling law that would help implement the provisions of the FOI. According to Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Undersecretary Kristian Ablan, the Executive Department’s recommended version of FOI is stipulated in HB 5776, which is authored by Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas. HB 5776 has three salient features that the Executive Department hopes to be included in the new FOI law such as the; “No Wrong Door Policy,” creation of an independent FOI Commission as well as the improvement of the government’s records management system. Vargas added that the bill is a collaborative effort of the PCOO, civil society organizations and FOI advocates designed to empower Filipino citizens as well as to combat fake news. Ablan assured the panel that EO No. 2 is effective particularly in the distribution of important data during this pandemic and hopes that the 18th Congress would be able to pass an FOI law before the end of President Duterte’s term.