Senate minority leader Alan Peter Cayetano urged his colleagues in Congress to ensure the speedy passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill now that the president has certified it as urgent.
As the principal author of the FOI bill in the Senate during the 14th Congress, Cayetano welcomed the president’s move and called on the members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate to be vigilant in seeing to it that the bill is not diluted and its original purpose not changed.
The senator said individual government agencies can start doing their part in promoting transparency and accountability in the government even while the debate on the bill is still in progress.
“I wouldn’t mind that agencies are given a lead time to draft their respective FOI manuals. What’s important is that we will have complete transparency in the government,” he said.
The minority leader said he will propose measures to aid the easy and speedy implementation of the FOI bill when the bill reaches the Senate floor.
“Anything that has to do with contracts, waivers of rights, loans, commercial dealings with government, etc should be available online instead of requiring our citizens to request it prior to release in order to ease the implementation of the FOI act,” he pointed out.
Cayetano also reiterated that passing any of the versions of the bill filed in Congress would be better than not having an FOI law at all.
“I hope that by the end of the 15th Congress, we can proudly present to the world our country’s version of the FOI law that will attest to our government’s commitment to demand transparency and accountability from public officials.”