Aragones adds FOI in bill for journalists
MANILA - Laguna Rep. Sol Aragones is piggybacking a freedom of information provision in her proposed Magna Carta for Journalists bill at the House of Representatives.
House Bill 2568 aims to prove freedom of information by compelling concerned offices to respond within 5 business days to requests by media outfits and journalists for information from government.
If the information requested cannot be produced, the agencies concerned must explain.
"The assumption is that all records in the custody or possession of a public body should be open to public scrutiny. Any public body that asserts that a record is exempt from disclosure has the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that it is exempt," Aragones' bill says.
The bill recognizes the following as exemptions:
- information specifically authorized to be kept secret under guidelines established by an executive order and properly classified
-records of minutes and advice given and opinions expressed during decision-making or policy formulation invoked by the chief executive to be privileged by reason of sensitivity
- information pertaining to internal and external defense, law enforcement and border control
- drafts of orders, resolutions, decisions, memoranda or audit reports any any executive, administrative, regulatory, constitutional, judicial or quasi-judicial body
- information obtained by any committee of either house of Congress in executive session
- personal information of a natural person other than the requesting party
- information pertaining to trade secrets and commercial or financial information that would seriously prejudice industrial, financial or commercial competition
- information classified as privileged communications in legal proceedings by law or by the rules of court
- information exempted by law or the Constitution.
Aside from this, the bill also seeks to establish a journalists' welfare fund for financial assistance to media workers who die or get incapacitated in the line of duty and journalists in distress.
The assistance ranges from P10,000 to P200,000.