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President Aquino Submits Text of FOI Legislation

last modified Feb 06, 2012 12:00 AM

Source: freedominfo.org

Date: 6 February 2012

Philippines President Benigno Aquino Feb. 2 sent to Congress his administration’s long awaited version of the freedom of information bill.

“Earlier today, we formally submitted to our coalition partners in the House of Representatives a substitute Freedom of Information Bill, which we believe addresses stakeholders’ desires to have more transparency  and more access to information in government,” the president said in a speech marking the 112th anniversary of the Manila Bulletin.

“We want every other administration voted into power to work under the same standard of transparency and accountability that we have set for ourselves. This is a significant step toward achieving that goal,” he also said, The Inquirer reported.

It was not clear if the bill would be added to the administration’s list of priority measures, but his allies in Congress welcomed the submission, according to a Journal Online report.

“Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, chairman of the Committee on Public Information, said that they will start the deliberation of the Palace bill this month amid the impeachment trial against Chief Justice Renato Corona,” according to the article.

FOI advocates have signaled acceptance of the Palace version, but the actual text had not been transmitted until now. (See previous FreedomInfo.org reports.)

On Feb. 3, Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad  said that pursuit of greater public access to information is an integral element of the Aquino Administration’s Good Governance and Anti-Corruption Plan for 2012 to 2016.