Philippines Coalition Presses for House Action on FOI

22 August 2012

The Right to Know Right Now Coalition in the Philippines has asked House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte to intervene and get the freedom of information bill out of committee.

The letter from the  network of 150 media and civil society organizations pushing the passage of the FOIasks Belmonte to take steps to “ensure full deliberation and swift approval” of the bill, which is pending with the House Committee on Public Information headed by Rep. Ben Evardone. “We regret that we have lost faith in the sincerity and good faith of Rep. Evardone on FOI,” the letter states.

The letter recalls Belemonte’s recent indications that the FOI bill would be moved forward. “We are concerned, however, that almost four weeks after your speech, the FOI bill continues to languish at the Committee chaired by Rep. Ben Evardone. He did not call a hearing on August 7 contrary to his earlier public pronouncement that he will do so, and there is no indication that he intends to call such hearing anytime soon.”

The letter continues: “But what concerns us even more are Rep. Evardone’s statements, quoted in a number of media stories, that his decision not to call a hearing was upon instruction of the House leadership. We find this assertion incongruent with the commitment that you have so far expressed on FOI.”

“At this crucial juncture in the term of the 15th Congress, we appeal for your intervention and concrete action on the FOI bill, pursuant to the powers and duties of the Speaker to ensure full deliberation and swift approval of priority measures,” the letter concludes.

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