FOI law will be passed, Belmonte says
MANILA - House Speaker Sonny Belmonte on Thursday assured media of the passage of a freedom of information (FOI) law in his current term.
Various FOI bills have been lingering at the committee level at the lower House, while one Senate counterpart is pending at the plenary and is being backed by some 20 senators.
The House Public Information Committee has not yet met to work on the bills, as it is bogged down by lack of venue, insufficient number of members, and scheduling conflicts.
The House is also in the process of passing the next year’s budget.
During plenary deliberations of the budget, work at the House committees is stopped to allow congressmen to maintain a quorum at the plenary budget deliberations.
Belmonte said 27 of the 35 members of the committee have been named, which is more than enough for a quorum.
As to the venue, he jokingly said, "they can use my room."
“You rely on me. Huwag niyo ko dinidiktahan. I manage to get things done," he said. "What I can commit in my term, magkakaroon kayo ng FOI, iyung version na makakalusot."
Belmonte said the FOI bill won't be watered down.
He said he is having the different versions of the FOI bills at the House reviewed.
The FOI has reportedly been named as a priority measure of the Aquino administration and will be included in the agenda of the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC).
However, the LEDAC has not yet met. "To tell yung frankly, we haven't actually convened a LEDAC yet although from the statements of the Senate president which I heard for 1st time, it was 80%-90% similar to our own position. There are certain mainly economic measures both of us want to pass."