The Senate is set to pass the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill on third and final reading on April 10.
The measure hurdled the Senate floor with no trouble on second reading Monday night after concluding the period of amendments.
Senator Grace Poe, sponsor of Senate Bill 1733 or the FOI bill, acknowledged the support of senators, advocates and the public in the progress of the measure in the Upper Chamber.
”This measure will arm the public with the tool to scrutinize government transactions to ensure the highest interests of our people and the country,” Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public information and mass media, said.
Among the amendments to the FOI bill are the tightening of the provision on personal privacy and sensitive personal information by defining its parameters.
The senators also approved amendment on the expansion of the concept of national security by including health pandemics and similar situations reflecting the modern definition of national security.
The mandatory posting by government agencies in their official websites of the Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth of officials with salary grade 27 or higher has also been included in the controversial bill.
The FOI measure shall allow every Filipino citizen to request and be granted access to any record or information that is under the control of the government, subject to reasonable exceptions.
The Senate version is a consolidation of 12 bills, including the indirect petition of the advocacy group Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition. PNA