New House public info chair seeks FOI law 'within the year'

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 18 2016 01:21 AM

Rep. Antonio Tinio. File photo/ABS-CBN News

MANILA - ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio is seeking the passage of a freedom of information (FOI) law within the year.

Tinio on Wednesday said he will prioritize it as the newly appointed chairman of the House committee on public information.

Tinio was elected chairman of the panel that will have jurisdiction over the FOI—-a proposal that has languished in Congress for several administrations.

"Number one priority dito ang pagpasa ng FOI Act. Ako, sa tingin ko, napakalaki ng tsansa, posibilidad na magkakaroon na tayo ng FOI Act within the 17th Congress," Tinio said.

(Our number one priority is the passage of the FOI Act. I think there is a very good chance that we would have an FOI Act within the 17th Congress.)

Tinio said that President Rodrigo Duterte's executive order on FOI does not cover offices outside the executive branch.

"EO, saklaw lang executive branch. Malaking bagay 'yun, lahat ng agencies, pero di kasali LGU, other branches of government, including House and sc and constitutional commissions. Muli, ako bilang chair, igagarantiya ko na gagawin natin lahat para maipasa," he said.

(The executive order only covers the executive branch. It covers all agencies, but it does not include local government units and other branches of the government, such as the House of Representatives, the Supreme Court and constitutional commissions. Again, as new chair [of the public information committee], I will guarantee that we will do everything to have the FOI act enacted.)

Tinio also gave his assurances that Congress will not enact a watered-down version of the bill.

"It's a realistic target within the year na maipasa natin. Of course that’s an initial target," Tinio explained.

(It is a realistic target to enact the law within the year. Of course, that is an initial target.)

Tinio said he believes Executive Order No. 2 can help hasten the process of enacting the law as it will provide a guide for Congress. 

Tinio's office has come up with their own version of the FOI.