Enrile vows FOI bill approval

Posted at 06/06/12 10:51 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile on Wednesday promised to have the upper House pass the freedom of information bill after the Senate's regular session starts on July 23.

He described it as a priority measure.

"'Yung Freedom of Information Bill, ipapasa namin 'yon para masiyahan kayo. Gusto ko happy kayo," Enrile said.

The Senate adjourned its 2nd regular session Wednesday, with lawmakers passing around 150 bills.

The FOI's version in the Senate, called the People's Ownership of Government Information (POGI) Act of 2012, reached the Senate plenary 3 days before the 2nd regular session of the 15th Congress ended. http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/06/04/12/pogi-bill-finally-reaches-senate-plenary

Sen. Gregorio Honasan II, chair of the Senate public information and mass media committee, called the measure a "landmark piece of legislation" when he sponsored it on the floor.

"Government is an instrument owned by the people, and all information in the custody of the state should be available for people to access for their well-being and benefit," said Honasan in his sponsorship speech for the People's Ownership of Government Information (POGI) Act of 2012.

Honasan cited Article 3, Section 7 of the Constitution that provides for the public's right to information on matters of public concern.

He also warned government against protecting itself in a culture of secrecy.

"Today, the state is justified only up to the point that it serves the people, and its security and stability largely depend on the mutual accessibility of its agencies and the people it is expected to serve," Honasan said.

Honasan said the law will give government a healthy environment for decision-making, and afford the citizens the opportunity to look into the workings of all branches of government, "allowing them to better define their roles in the whole systems of democratic governance."

The bill, which substitutes 14 other FOI bills filed by various senators, is largely similar to Malacañang's version sent to Congress in January. - reports from Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News