Press Release
March 21, 2016


Facing the second Presidential Debate in Cebu, leading candidate Grace Poe pitched anew for the passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) as a way to help address corruption in the bureaucracy.

Poe stressed her resolve to have an FOI law in place to institute transparency in government, saying the lack thereof has proven to be a stumbling block in curbing graft and corruption.

A country ridden in graft and corruption will always have citizens mired in poverty, she said.

During the debate, Poe exchanged words with Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is currently facing cases before the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court.

"Ang FOI ang nagbibigay ng armas sa ating mga kababayan para mabusisi ang mga dokumento ng gobyerno... ang gusto kong bersyon ay iyong bersyon non sapagkat nakalagay doon na lahat ng nasa gobyerno--mula sa ibaba hanggang sa taas--ay may pananagutan sa ating bansa"

Wastage of public funds due to graft and corruption in the Philippines amounts to an average of P100 billion annually according to the Commission on Audit.

As chairperson of the committee on public information and mass media, Poe anchored the passage on third and final reading of the FOI in the Senate in a record eight-month period in the 16th Congress.

She cited that the bill had a lengthy deliberation in the Senate, locking horns as a newbie in 2013 with veteran Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Juan Ponce Enrile.

The lower house, however, failed to pass its version of the FOI.

Poe, during the first presidential debate, said that if elected President, the first executive order she would issue would be the FOI until institutionalized and strengthened in a legislative fiat.

She complemented her call to enact the FOI with a recommendation to establish more prison building to accommodate plunderers and thieves of public funds.

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