MANILA - A freedom of information bill will be filed before the Bangsamoro Parliament on Tuesday.
Members of Parliament (MP) Amir Mawallil and Baintan Ampatuan will be introducing Bangsamoro Transition Authority Parliament Bill No. 83, which seeks to institutionalize public access to government information.
The bill was co-authored by MPs Laisa Alamia, Suharto Ambolodto, Don Mustapha Loong, Rasul Ismael, and Rasol Mitmug Jr. as a measure to implement the people's right to information in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
“There is really a need to institutionalize transparency mechanism in the region, and we believe that an FOI law will provide structure and administrative support for the people who have the right to access to information that is vital to their daily lives. The people have the right to demand information from their government, and this is part of our accountability to those we serve, a hallmark of good governance," Mawallil said in a statement.
Under the proposed measure, disclosures of the following public records shall be automatic:
- Audited financial statements
- Annual budget reports
- Itemized monthly collections and disbursements
- Summaries of income and expenditures
- Revenue targets and actual collections
- Statements of debt services
- Annual procurement plans and procurement lists
- Building processes, deadlines, and requirements
- Items to bid; bid results on civil works, goods and services, and consulting services
- Supplemental procurement plans
- Loans, grants, development assistance, technical assistance, and programs from domestic and foreign financial institutions
- Development plans, investment programs and accomplishments, manuals of operation, programs and projects and their implementation guidelines
- Executive issuances (executive orders, memoranda, administrative orders, proclamations)
The information will also be posted on the official websites of concerned offices.
The bill, likewise, calls for all offices in the BARMM to have a compliant website within two years once the bill is passed.
The Bangsamoro Information and Communications Technology Office (BICTO) will also be mandated to monitor the websites of all the offices of the Bangsamoro government, as well as to provide appropriate support.
The Bangsamoro Information Office (BIO), on the other hand, will be designated as the "FOI Focal Office", which will oversee the implementation of the measure, once passed into law.