Press Release
July 23, 2010


"GIVING the right to information earns the public trust which will give birth to national unity."

These were the statements made by Senator Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. as he re-filed the freedom of information bill at the commencement of the 15th Congress.

In re-filing the Senate Bill 25, or Freedom of Information Act of 2010, Bong Revilla said the implementation of right of people to information on matters affecting their interest and well-being will restore the people's support to the government.

The FOI bill provides people access to official records, and to documents pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well to government research data used as basis for policy development.

According to the senator, enacting such bill into law guarantees that the Philippines' democracy is permanent.

"By guaranteeing citizen's access to official records, the Filipinos will actively participate in the decision-making and legitimizing process of governance," he added.

He said FOI is one of his priority bills in the 15th Congress and vowed to exert all possible efforts to pass the same. A similar bill he filed during the 14th Congress failed to get the Lower House's approval.

"I saw the disappointment of the people when the 14th Congress ended the session without enacting the 10-year bill. I swore to myself that I will answer the public clamor with the re-filing of the FOI bill," Bong Revilla, who got the mandate for the 15th Congress, said.

He further said that the lawmakers cannot ignore the FOI because it is guaranteed by the 1987 Constitution.

"Institutionalizing the FOI will also help in preventing corruption. Without it, public officers will be emboldened to do unscrupulous things and get away with it," the senator emphasized.

On the other hand, the lawmaker reminded that the FOI, when it becomes law, is not absolute.

Under the bill, access to information may be denied when it poses clear and present danger of war, invasion or any external threat to the State.

Information will also be withheld if it could seriously jeopardized the diplomatic relations of the country or tend weaken the bilateral or multilateral negotiations entered by the government. The same shall be done if the information will suppress or abort the law enforcement.

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