Press Release
September 24, 2013

Sen. JV Ejercito's Sponsorship speech on the FOI Bill

Good Afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen, fellow Senators, Mr. Chairman.

The Freedom of Information Bill has long been overdue. Despite the fact that the need for it arose from the moment the government begins, our government still failed to have Freedom of Information legislation that will satisfy said need.

It was long promised by the Constitution and remains to this day, just a promise. From the 12th to the present 15th Congress, notwithstanding the numerous bills filed and refilled, it seems like we always return to square one, from zero, marching but only in one place when it comes on the Freedom of Information Act.

It has been recognized by the Supreme Law of the land that the people have a right to information on matters of public concern. Access to official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.

This right is indispensable to the exercise of the right of the people and their organizations to effective and reasonable participation at all levels of social and economic decision-making. It is the government's duty and responsibility to the citizenry to adopt and implement a policy of public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest.

The failure of the Congress to adopt a law that will give life to the aforementioned declared policy of the Constitution is a deprivation of people's right to information. It is a manifest violation of a recognized and established right.

The present controversial issues the government is faced with could have been prevented if it were transparent to the people from day one of its constitution. However, the Philippine's Freedom of Information Act remains elusive.

The enactment of the Freedom of Information legislation is our obligation to the citizens of the Philippines just as it is their obligation to pay taxes, so it is ours to protect their hard-earned money. It will show the people that government is devoted and putting more effort to curtail the rampant corruption in the government. Furthermore, it will help the government to attain its goal of transparency in the government service to achieve effective governance.

All told, let's not turn our back to the Freedom of Information Bill. Let's give the people the right they are entitled to. Let's pass the Freedom of Information Bill.

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