Press Release
September 15, 2016


The transparency and anti-corruption measure Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill is targeted to be passed early next year, said Senator Grace Poe.

"Wala tayong pag-aalinlangang maipapasa ang importanteng batas na ito sa Senado," said Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public information and mass media that is also set to tackle FOI proposals on Monday, Sept. 19, 10 a.m. (Room 3, Second Floor, Philippine Senate) "Kailangan natin ng isang bukas at tapat na pamamahala na makikinig sa mga hinaing ng ating mga kababayan," added Poe, FOI advocate and author of Senate Bill No. 159 or the proposed FOI Act.

The FOI, which opens government records to the public subject to reasonable exceptions, will empower the citizens to participate in governance, the senator said as she highlighted the need to institutionalize this important measure.

"An FOI Law is needed to institutionalize transparency across all branches of the government, not just in the Executive branch. It is not only about transparency and accountability but also about creating an environment for stakeholder participation," Poe stressed.

Once the proposed legislation is passed into law, Poe said, government officials are required to act and/or comply with the request for information within 15 working days. It covers all government agencies and instrumentalities, including the executive, legislative, judicial branches of government, local governments as well as government-owned- and controlled corporations (GOCCs) and government financial institutions (GFIs).

Statements of assets, liabilities and net worth of public officials, annual budget of government agencies, summary of income and expenditures, and procurement contracts, among others will also be made available to the public and uploaded on government agencies' websites.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier issued Executive Order No. 2 implementing FOI in the executive branch.

In the 16th Congress, the Senate passed on third and final reading the FOI bill in record time.

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