House committee okays FOI bill; 35 measures proposed

Feb. 16, 2017

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The Committee on Public Information in Congress approved the Freedom of Information bill of which it consolidated 35 proposed measures embodying the right of information in the 1987 Constitution.

“We are working for the swift enactment into law of the FOI Bill, considering that this is one of the priorities of the Duterte administration. In record time, we have been able to consolidate 35 proposed measures. Today, we approved the FOI Bill at the committee level,” ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio said in a statement on Wednesday.

Tinio, who chairs the committee, said the approved FOI bill features two aspects, namely: full public disclosure and citizens’ access to information.

“We hope that, with the support of the House leadership, we will soon be able to take up the FOI Bill in plenary,” he said.

He explained that “full public disclosure” provides that the public, without the need of request, should be able to get information on government records and transactions. As such, the FOI bill mandates the full disclosure of the Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth of government officials.

“The policy of full public disclosure is not fully fleshed out in our current laws. The FOI Bill seeks to address that gap,” he added, pointing out that the bill also “enumerates public interest documents or records which government agencies must publish in their websites, such as contracts with the private sector and those which are budget-related.”

Apart from this, Tinio added that bill also mandates every citizen’s right to ask for and receive information from government, subject only to a limited number of exceptions.

“The bill also sets the procedure of requesting for access to information and documents up to appeal in case of denial. It also sets administrative and criminal liabilities for violation of the right to information,” Tinio emphasized. (

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