House panel approves FOI bill


15 February 2017
Reference: ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio Tinio

The House Committee on Public Information approved today the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill.
“We are working for the swift enactment into law of the FOI Bill, considering that this is one of the priorities of the Duterte administration. In record time, we have been able to consolidate 35 proposed measures. Today, we approved the FOI Bill at the committee level,” said ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio, who chairs the committee. “We hope that, with the support of the House leadership, we will soon be able to take up the FOI Bill in plenary.”

The bill embodies the two aspects of the right to information as mandated by the 1987 Constitution, namely, full public disclosure and citizens’ access to information.

Full public disclosure provides that every Filipino, without the need of request, should be able to get information on government records and transactions. The approved FOI reiterates the Constitution’s mandate to disclose the Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth of certain officials. It also enumerates public interest documents or records which government agencies must publish in their websites, such as contracts with the private sector and those which are budget-related.

“The policy of full public disclosure is not fully fleshed out in our current laws. The FOI Bill seeks to address that gap,” said Tinio.

The bill also mandates every citizen’s right to ask for and receive information from government, subject only to a limited number of exceptions. The bill also sets the procedure of requesting for access to information and documents up to appeal in case of denial.

Finally, the bill sets administrative and criminal liabilities for violation of the right to information. ###