Bicam approves Freedom of Information Act
Manila (January 24) -- With the approval of the Freedom of Information Act by the bicameral conference committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives, only the nod of the plenary is needed before the law is sent to President Arroyo for her signature.
The bill would be tackled at the plenary this week to allow the two chambers to reconcile their versions.
The Freedom of Information Act is aimed at promoting transparency and accountability in government by strengthening the people's right of access to information.
Once signed into a law, the bill will enable Filipinos to become graft busters by providing clear paper trail in government policy-making and transactions.
Under the bill, all government agencies are required to make available to the public for scrutiny, copying and reproduction all information pertaining to official acts, transactions or decisions, as well as government research data used as basis for policy development, regardless of their physical form or format in which they are contained and by whom they were made.
The bill's author Quezon Rep. Lorenzo Taņada said the committee report will be circulated for signatures on Monday, and it will hopefully be ratified right after.
Advocates say the Freedom of Information Act is a strategic reform legislation that could help foster good governance because it will address the lack of implementing procedures that allow routine violation by government officials and personnel of the people's right to know and to access documents in the possession of public agencies. (PIA 8) [top]