PIA Press Release
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
NUJP-Iloilo pleased with Aquino’s push for FOI billby Elsa S. Subong
ILOILO CITY, Jan. 10 (PIA6) -- The Iloilo chapter of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) lauded President Aquino’s marching order for the approval of the Freedom of Information Bill (FOI).
NUJP-Iloilo president Nestor Burgos said although the bill could have been pushed a long time ago, the move is a good and welcome development now.
Burgos said advocates of the bill have been pushing it for the last 14 years and the approval is one of the campaign promises of Aquino which he is fulfilling now.
He also said there are still those who are blocking the passage of the bill so he is asking the public to support it through advocacy campaigns.
Earlier, President Aquino approved the Palace draft of FOI after he was presented with the results of the consultations and studies by Secretaries Florencio Abad, Rene Almendras, Ricky Carandang, Edwin Lacierda and Undersecretary Manuel L. Quezon III.
The FOI Bill pending in Congress calls for the mandatory disclosure of government information to ensure enhanced transparency in government transactions.
Nestor Burgos, meanwhile said, they have yet to see the Palace draft.
Usec. Quezon said in a Malacanang dispatch that Aquino asked for the removal of the proposed Information Commission from the draft because the President felt that it would be another layer of the bureaucracy.
Quezon also said that while not all information can be released to the public, the general rule is that information should always be available to the people as long as it doesn’t fall along those considered as restricted information.
These exceptions include information that harm the ability of the state to protect peace and order, diplomatic relations with other countries and those which would expose police and military operations.
Quezon said the speed at which the biil will become a law depends on the leadership of both houses of Congress, but he added there is a consensus among lawmakers that they will the bill a major achievement of the 15th Congress. (JCM/ESS/PIA-Iloilo)