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FOI for senate interpellation, won’t pass 2nd reading

FOI, Manila Bulletin, Freedom of Information

The Freedom of information (FOI) bill here continues to languish in the Congress for over two decades now, despite the growing public outcry for its passage. (Art by Sheryl Vitto)

Senate President Fanklin M. Drilon said on Sunday that they will prioritize the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill in the last three days session of Senate.

Drilon said before the upper chamber goes into recess for the observance of All Saints’ Day, it will hold plenary debates over the FOI bill and will continue its period of interpellations.

However, he admitted that it will not be possible to pass it on the second reading.

“Hindi po kakayanin. Hindi madali ang batas na ito. Period of interpellation pa lang. Hindi naman agad-agad dahil hindi natin alam kung ilang senador ang magtatanong at hindi natin kayang ipasa on second reading on Wednesday [It is not feasible. This law will take time to be approved as we are still in the period of interpellations. We don’t know how many senators will question the bill. We cant pass it on second reading by Wednesday], Drilon said in a radio interview.

He earlier said that the FOI bill will take a backseat on the senate’s legislative calendar as they will focus on the approval of the P2.268-trillion 2014 budget before the year ends. He explains that the senate should first pass the annual budget that would fuel government projects at the start of 2014, including the billions of public works projects and the Aquino Administrations’ flagship Conditional Cash Transfer Program.

While waiting for congress to submit the annual budget bill on Tuesday, the Senate will first priority public debates on the FOI bill, said Drilon.

“Iyan naman ay nasa legislative agenda, given our legislative calendar, bago matapos ang Marso next year maipapasa natin yan [The FOI Bill is included in our legislative calendar. The FOI bill will be passed by the Senate before the month of March next year]” Drilon said.

The FOI bill seeks to adopt and implement a policy of full public disclosure of all government transactions, involving public interest, with appropriate safeguards to protect national security and national interest.

  • kreckho

    We agree with the retired general call for all funds that the president enjoyed spending should be transfered to the treasury and be included in national budget kahit gamitin na lang ito sa education, for children care, for department health and hospital. Tama po ito dahil kung and presidente at cabinte ang gasgastus nito walang pnadunganan gastusin nila ito for the best interest of them not the people. Katulad ng allegedly use as a bribe sa kanilang tagasuporta. Nagiging habit na nila ito. Sabi niValte kung may nakita na misused. Paano naman makikita ang misused ng presidente samantalang focus ng auditing ay doon sa gusto nilang e-audit. Audit mo na natin ang presidente ang cabinete dahil trillion ang perang ginagastos nila bukod sa malapaya, phagcor. Yong pang pera mula sa SSS at GSIS. Saan napupunta ang aid na binigay ng U.S. at sino ang gumagstos nito. Dapa e-audit nila si presidente. Sabi nga niya ang nawalang pera ni Gloria ay thrillion siguro ganito siguro kalaki ang nawawala o mas malaki pa..

  • Mr_Sigbin

    This bill definitely is very essential to combat the current issue of corruption and should be passed unless opposing law makers can prove it not essential.

    For those spending wherein disclosure of its details may imperil the national security, then govt may no need to mention the full details on how the project/service/agency will work in details and thus it will not imperil national security.

    In this way, spending of the budget will become efficient and effective…

  • Charlie Gomez

    I demand an immediate action of the FOI bill soon. Senate must prioritize this before Christmas — otherwise there’ll be more xmas bonus again. Seriously.

  • scconcern

    FOI is the answer to Pork barrel. This will make the plutocratic pseudo-democracy obsolete or lessen corruption to nil.