Press Release
July 31, 2009

Disclose gov't foreign expert fees and privileges

Senator Edgardo J. Angara is calling on the Senate to pass the "Foreign Consultants' Disclosure Act of 2007" in response to the country's unemployment problem and to ensure Filipinos are given equal footing against foreign nationals in a competitive labor market.

"This law is necessary so the public will know whether the fees paid to these consultants are commensurate with the benefits that the Government is getting from them or that such jobs can only be fulfilled by foreign consultants. Likewise, it is tantamount to ensure that Filipinos are given equal consideration in not only the position itself but for the opportunity of professional growth that such positions or projects offer," stresses Sen. Angara, father of the Ombudsman Law and the primary author of the Procurement Reform Act.

Foreign Consultants' Disclosure Act of 2007 or SB 900 emphasizes the basic right of the people to be informed of public-interest issues such as the compensation levels of foreign nationals working as consultants or contractors in the Philippine government.

Pursuant to the principle of transparency in public office, Senate Bill 900 seeks to regulate the activities of foreign consultants and duly register them in relevant bodies such as the Bureau of Immigration and the DFA. The bill also mandates that heads of all government agencies and subsidiaries publish their foreign consultants' identities, nature of work, levels of compensation and privileges and terms of and tenure of contract in at least two major dailies every year.

Any head of government agency or subsidiary convicted of breach of this Act will be fined up to P120,000.00 and imprisoned for at least six years, or as deemed appropriate by the court. In addition, violators will be suspended and disqualified from holding public office.

Angara notes, "Transparency, in all its forms, must be given upper-hand in the government. The public needs to know if we are indeed benefitting from the services of these experts at the expense of our own citizens not getting these jobs, and if only they are qualified to fill such positions. Otherwise, the expertise of our own highly-skilled and qualified citizens must be priority--harnessed and compensated for."

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