The Freedom on Information (FOI) bill is again gathering dust at the House of Representatives, authors of the measure lamented on Monday.
They said this is because Rep. Jorge Almonte of Misamis Occidental, Chairman of the Technical Working Group (TWG) who was tasked to consolidate the 15 FOI bills in Congress is yet to convene the TWG.
“We haven’t had a single meeting, although we have been meeting with some authors to fast track the consolidation. We are concerned because we will be hard pressed to meet that deadline—that is, if the chair is serious in meeting the target,” Rep. Teddy Baguilat of Ifugao, Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, said.
The FOI bill seeks to open to the public information and transactions in government thru mandatory posting of wealth statement of public officials and access to information being used for decision making or project management, including transcripts and minutes of official meetings, provided that there is a legitimate request.
Rep. Emmeline Aglipay of Democratic Independent Workers Association party-list, echoed Baguilat’s sentiments.
“It [non-convening of TWG] is already a cause for concern, considering that the deadline is fast approaching,” Aglipay said.
In the Senate, the FOI bill has already been approved in the committee level.
House Deputy Majority Leader Sherwin Tugna of Citizens Battle Against Corruption party-list, for his part, called on his colleagues to act swiftly on the matter.
“We should convene this week to conduct discussions and debate to come up with a TWG report [by February],” Tugna added.