Timing for Passage of Philippines FOI Bill Slipping

3 August 2012

Philippines Deputy House Speaker Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III said Aug. 3 that he is optimistic that the controversial Freedom of Information bill will passed by December, but the bill still is bottled up in a House committee.

The bill remains in the House committee on public information chaired by Eastern Samar Representative Ben Evardone, who has yet to announce a promised hearing on the bill, passed by the Senate in June.

For a perspective on opposition to the bill see a FreedomInfo.org feature article by Nepo Malaluan, a co-convenor of the Right to Know. Right Now! Coalition

Tañada, an author of the bill, said “there is much to be improved” on how Evardone’s committee is handling the bill, according to a report by the Sun Star.

The Sun Star also reported that Evardone, in a statement to the press, “said he and the committee’s technical working group are trying to agree on a commonly supported bill.”

“Two contentious issues of the FOI are yet to be resolved, including the right of reply provision as proposed by Nueva Ecija Representative Rodolfo Antonino, and whether the committee will agree to extend the coverage of the FOI law to the private sector as proposed by Camiguin Representative Pedro Romualdo,” according to the article.

Tañada said he opposes the right of reply provision and extending coverage to the private sector. 

After Philippines President Benigno Aquion recently failed to mention FOI in his State of the Nation address, Evardone, said deliberations on the 2013 budget may hinder the FOI bill’s passage in August and September, according to a July 24 GMA News report.

Evardone said he was working on a compromise on the right to reply provision.

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