FOI bill likely to be approved next month

by Marvin Sy, The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 16 2014 11:16 AM | Updated as of Feb 16 2014 07:16 PM

MANILA - The proposed Freedom of Information (FOI) bill is likely to be approved on third and final reading next month.

After plenary debates on the provisions of the bill over the past two weeks, Sen. Grace Poe said the Senate could now start the period of amendments.

Poe, principal sponsor of the FOI bill, said she would start accepting the proposed amendments of her colleagues next week.

“We are hopeful that the FOI bill will make it to the list of important laws that our citizens can lean on,” said Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public information and mass media.

Senate President Franklin Drilon has given his full support to the measure and is confident there would be no opposition from the other senators.

The Senate approved a previous version of the FOI bill several years back but it did not prosper because the House of Representatives failed to act on it.

The current version of the FOI bill is a consolidation of 12 bills filed by several senators and an indirect petition of the Right to Know, Right Now Coalition.

While expressing confidence in the bill’s passage in the Senate, Poe said there is a need for strong public support for the measure.

Poe earlier urged the public to lobby the House of Representatives to act on the FOI bill.

She said the FOI law would allow every Filipino citizen to request for and be granted access to any record or information under the control of the government, subject to reasonable exceptions.