Press Release
August 25, 2013

Poe: FOI measure crucial in fighting corruption

Sen. Grace Poe strongly urged the public and netizens to sustain and heighten their support for the passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill to end massive misuse of public funds and institutionalize transparency and accountability in government.

"Ito ang unang sandata natin para malaman kung ano ang nangyayari sa gobyerno. Kung wala tayong impormasyon, wala tayong batayan para umaksyon. Dahil nakakubli ang katotohanan, taon ang binibilang bago natin malaman ang nangyayari--kaya lubhang mahalaga ang FOI," Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public information and mass media, emphasized.

Since the last campaign, Poe has pushed for freedom of information. Her committee is set to hold a hearing on the FOI bill on September 4 at 10 a.m. at the Senate Session Hall. "With vigorous public support, we expect to hurdle all challenges in the passage of the FOI bill," Poe said, "We must ensure that all actions of the government are subject to scrutiny."

The FOI bill seeks to make government data and transactions more open and transparent to the public to facilitate good governance. The measure failed to secure Congress' approval in the 15th Congress.

Poe's committee will also devote time to tackle the government's database. For FOI to work, there must be an efficient records management system in place that allows for easy reproduction, indexing, storage, retrieval and releasing of information to the public, she explained.

"Freedom of information is also about good record-keeping and archives management. If documents cannot be located, then right of access is meaningless. Aanhin mo yung access kung wala naming information?" Poe emphasized.

As public information committee chair, Poe has also hailed efforts of ordinary Filipino citizens and netizens to make their voices heard and march against the reported massive misuse of public funds.

She earlier filed a resolution urging the Senate to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation into the role of non-governmental organizations in questionable government transactions identified recently by the Commission on Audit.

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