Press Release
July 10, 2013

Good Governance Advocate calls for complete transparency

Senator Teofisto "TG" Guingona III has filed Senate Bill Number 74, otherwise known as the "People's Freedom of Information Act of 2013," supporting all calls for complete transparency in the government's transactions and processes. "The highest stage the Freedom of Information Act has reached so far is the Bicameral Conference Committee Report which was ratified in the Senate but failed to do so in Congress for lack of quorum on the final session day of the 14th Congress. Suffice it to say that this bill is long overdue," Sen. Guingona said.

The senator noted that while the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III has made headway in fighting against corruption in the country, the issue of complete transparency needs to be addressed.

"There needs to be a mechanism wherein the people are provided easy access to information regarding the government's transactions and processes. As Justice Isagani Cruz said 'The days of the secret laws and unpublished decrees are over.' The FOI bill will enhance our democratic ideals which we fought so hard to gain, even as it further empowers our people," Sen. Guingona explained.

The good governance advocate believes that people can work with government for reforms and accountability only if they are armed with relevant information. "If we want people to effectively participate in government, transparent and accessible information are vital. An FOI law is both a blessing and a challenge to good governance. If people have the right information, they must learn to use the same to contribute to nation-building," Sen. Guingona asserted. Sen. Guingona's full support of the FOI law stems largely from his belief that access to information must not depend on the absolute discretion or even on the whims and caprices of heads of government agencies. He believes that an FOI law will pave the way for an institutionalized and government-wide policy on transparency and disclosure. He explained that under the FOI bill of 2013, there will be mandatory disclosure of information from all government agencies regarding their budget, information on their procurement, register of their transactions, and pertinent information regarding the agency. Any person who wishes to obtain information shall be given access to such information with some exceptions.

"It is our hope that in the 16th Congress, this bill will finally be passed and enacted into law. This bill will help us bring government closer to the people. Public office is a public trust, and public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people," Sen. Guingona said.

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