One couldn’t help but notice the frustration of Representative Lorenzo “Erin” Tanada and FOI bill lobbyist over the slow passage of the Freedom of Information Bill. The recent contention came from Representative Rodolfo Antonino from Nueva Ecija who wanted to include provisions for Right of Reply in the Bill. The Freedom of Information Bill intends to provide the public with easy access to public documents and full disclosure of transactions that involve public interests.
Unfortunately, there are obvious moves to delay the approval of the proposed measure which could somehow prevent if not totally stop the corrupt practices of some selfish officials in the bureaucracy.
We have seen too many exposés on corrupt practices and misuse of public funds that could have been avoided if local government officials have been transparent with their transactions. Providing the public with a clear account of the funds used for government projects can help public officials establish their integrity in the community. Corrupt practices of the past would have the public suspecting signature items like Nautica Cologne for Men or Timex Watches worn by public officials as coming from public funds or bribes.
The expanded scope of the Freedom of Information Bill provides the public with access to information of all government agencies and gives clear procedures for both public and private citizens to gain such access. Bill authors and lobbyists are still holding on to a slim hope that the Congress will come to an agreement for the passage of this bill before they go on a recess this December.
Can President Noynoy Aquino urge his allies to fastened the passage of the bill which could boost his campaign for “Tuwid Na Daan”?