Duterte to impose FOI through executive order

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 03 2016 03:43 PM | Updated as of Jul 03 2016 07:34 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte speaks at the Delpan Sports Complex as he visits the poor residents of Tondo on Thursday, the day of his inauguration. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill may have been stalled in Congress for the past 28 years, but it may soon be imposed in the executive branch through an executive order (EO) to be signed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar announced Sunday that the EO requiring the executive branch to increase public access to their records and transactions may be issued this coming week.

"Hinahabol po namin ang draft po ng executive order para po sa Freedom of Information at i-a-anunsyo po namin iyan at sana mahabol po namin this week or next week po," Andanar told state-run dzRB.

"Iyan po ang commitment po ng Pangulo sa atin."

As early as May, Duterte promised to impose the FOI through an EO, saying, "Kung ayaw ng Congress, I will start with this progressively. Para walang satsat, walang yakyak."

Although an executive order would be limited only to the executive department, advocates see a possible commitment to the passage of an FOI law, which would impose public disclosure on all branches of government.

They said the President's decisive support for FOI will help it move forward in Congress.

(READ: After Aquino 'kills' FOI, advocates see hope in Duterte)

Legislators have been introducing a Freedom of Information bill in Congress for close to three decades now. The Senate passed its version of the FOI in the 14th, 15th and 16th Congress, but the measure was stalled at the House of Representatives.

Duterte's predecessor, former President Benigno Aquino III, raised the hopes of FOI advocates by promising in 2010 to support the legislation.

The proposed law, however, was killed at the House of Representatives towards the end of Aquino's term.