The Freedom of Information (FOI) and the anti-political dynasty bills may die a natural death in the 16th Congress.
House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales 2nd of Mandaluyong City has conceded that these bills will be sidetracked by the measure that seeks to establish the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region and the proposed P3 billion budget for 2016.
The FOI bill mandates government agencies and public officials to disclose all information pertaining to official acts, transactions or decisions, as well as government research data used as a basis for policy development, while the anti-political dynasty measure aims to allow only two members of a political family to run for public office in the same election.
Also to be sidelined is the “pet” bill of Speaker Feliciano Belmonte that seeks to lift the 40 percent restriction on foreign ownership of public utilities, land and media firms.
“The chances of approving these (measures) are becoming slimmer because our hands are full now. I am not saying that these are hopeless…the problem and what is needed here is numbers, and not because these bills are controversial,” Gonzales said in a radio interview.
Congress is expected to start plenary debates on the proposed Bangsamoro law after it opens its Third Regular Session on July 27. President Benigno Aquino 3rd will submit his proposed national budget after he delivers his State of the Nation Address on July 27.
The House and the Senate need to approve the Bangsamoro bill on third and final reading and have it ready for the President’s signature by August or ahead of the September approval of the budget on second reading.
Congress would then need to approve the proposed national budget before it adjourns in December.