Chances slim for FOI law this year: Alvarez

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 28 2016 04:56 PM

House speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The House of Representatives is unlikely to pass a freedom of information (FOI) law this year, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said Sunday.

Alvarez reasoned that the lower chamber will prioritize passing the 2017 General Appropriations Act.

"Siguro if within the year baka kakapusin tayo kasi from now until about November, budget hearing 'yan e," he said at an interview in Leyte.

[There may not be enough time to pass the law within the year because from now until about November, we'll be holding budget hearings.]

An added challenge to the passing of an FOI law, he added, is the filling of membership of House committees.

"'Yung FOI law, wala akong problema diyan. Kaya nga lang sa ngayon ay hindi pa kumpleto lahat ng mga committees.

[ There’s no problem with the FOI law. It’s just that the committees are not yet complete.]

Alvarez also asked the public to give lawmakers "a little more time" to pass a law providing for full disclosure of government records and transactions.

(READ: New House public info chair seeks FOI law 'within the year')

President Rodrigo Duterte signed an executive order (EO) implementing the FOI last July.

The EO on FOI, however, does not cover offices outside the executive branch.

Duterte has urged lawmakers to pass an FOI law that will encompass all government offices.

-- With a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News