Palace vows passage of FOI bill

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Malacañang on Wednesday reaffirmed its commitment to ensure the passage of the long-delayed Freedom of Information (FOI) bill before the term of President Benigno Aquino 3rd ends in 2016.

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In a news conference, Palace spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the President will stand by his promise to have the FOI bill signed into law within his term.

He added that Aquino mentioned his commitment on July 15, in response to a question of Makati Business Club chairman Ramon del Rosario.

“He [Aquino] said ‘FOI [bill]will become law before the end of my term.’ It’s a process right now,” Lacierda said.

He added that the Palace is now discussing the measure with the House public information committee.

“Congressman [Jorge] Almonte, the head of the [committee], is very gung-ho about this. He has scheduled regular meetings of the technical working group. Undersecretary Manolo Quezon has been attending,” Lacierda said.

He added that Malacanang is pushing for the integration of open data-Aquino’s initiative–into the FOI bill.

According to him, Representatives Henedina Abad of Batanes and Leni Robredo of the Third District of Camarines Sur—partymates of the President in the Libreal Party—are interested in incorporating open data into the FOI bill.

He said under the scheme, all government data will be published in a single government portal, data.gov.ph.

“It will democratize FOI in the sense that the release of information will not only be given to one person, it will be released to everyone. It’s what we call the principle of release to one, release to all,” Lacierda added.

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