Pass FOI bill, professors urge

academics have joined the call of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, and other advocacy groups pushing for the bill’s passage

Rappler.com
Updated 7:41 PM, Jan 23, 2013

FILE PHOTO. Advocates give the FOI one more push.FILE PHOTO. Advocates give the FOI one more push.

MANILA, Philippines - Professors from different colleges and universities released a joint statement calling for the passage of the Freedom of Information bill. With 8 session days remaining in the 15th congress, academics expressed concern over the seeming inaction and lack of urgency in taking up the measure.

The statement emphasizes that access to publicly-held information is a fundamental right of citizens. Professors who also engage in empirical research have identified “arbitrary roadblocks set by public offices [as] barriers” to a careful and systematic examination of government operations.

Through this statement, academics have joined the call of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, and other advocacy groups pushing for the bill’s passage.

Beyond media

Earlier, academics said the FOI bill is vital to their work as researchers.

"As scholars, we view access to data as an integral component in evidence-based research. Currently, the arbitrary roadblocks sent by public offices are barriers to a sincere examiniation of government operations," academics from the University of the Philippines said in a statement.

It will also encourage ordinary citizens to be more involved in national affairs, National Union of Journalists in the Philippines secretary general Rowena Paraan said.

"We are not just supporting this to make our lives easier. We support this because we believe it will create an environment wherein ordinary citizens will be encouraged to join and actively participate in government," she said.

Below is the full statement from university professors:

Joint statement of university professors for FOI

We, the undersigned faculty of various universities, in our individual capacity as scholars and citizens, urge our Representatives in Congress to pass the Freedom of Information bill.

We consider the bill an important piece of legislation to uphold our fundamental right to publicly-held information. As scholars, we view access to data as an integral component in evidence-based research. Currently, the arbitrary roadblocks set by public offices are barriers to a sincere examination of government operations. As citizens, access to information is critical to responsible participation in national life. Transparency is our greatest defense against public officials who have diverged from the will of the electorate. It is also valued highly by public servants who have done right and performed well.

We express concern that failure to pass the bill in the fifteenth congress sets back the administration’s reform agenda at a crucial time when transparency in governance needs to be institutionalized. It is unacceptable that a progressive piece of legislation is held hostage by politicians with vested interest seeking to incapacitate citizens who aim to hold them accountable.

There is still enough time to pass the bill. We press the fifteenth congress to take action and pass the FOI bill now.

Signed,

  1. Prof. Carmela Abao, Department of Political Science, Ateneo de Manila University
  2. Prof. Flordeliz L. Abanto, Mass Communication Department, St. Scholastica's College-Manila
  3. Prof. Joy Aceron, Ateneo School of Government, Ateneo de Manila University
  4. Prof. Arjan P. Aguirre, Department of Political Science, Ateneo de Manila University
  5. Dr. Michael Alba, President, Far Eastern University
  6. Dr. Fernando Aldaba, Economics Department, Ateneo de Manila University
  7. Prof. Marinela M. Aseron, College of Mass Communication, UP Diliman
  8. Dr. Aileen S.P. Baviera, Asian Center, UP Diliman
  9. Dr. Edsel L. Beja Jr., Economics Department, Ateneo de Manila University
  10. Dr. Ma. Luisa De Leon-Bolinao, History Department, UP Diliman
  11. Dr. Angelina E. Borican, Publications Office, Polytechnic University of the Philippines
  12. Prof. Ma. Teresa Briones, Ateneo School of Government, Ateneo School of Government
  13. Dr. Rhodora Masilang-Bucoy, Political Science Program, UP Cebu
  14. Prof. Valerie Pagasa P. Buenaventura, Department of Political Science, Ateneo de Manila University
  15. Prof. Jason Vincent A. Cabanes, Department of Communication, Ateneo de Manila University
  16. Prof. Nelson G. Cainghog, Department of Political Science, UP Diliman
  17. Dr. Loreta Castro, Miriam College
  18. Dr. Tina S. Clemente, Asian Center, UP Diliman
  19. Dr. Lisandro Claudio, Department of Political Science, Ateneo de Manila University
  20. Dr. Sylvia Estrada Claudio, Center for Women’s Studies, UP Diliman
  21. Prof. Jose Antonio R. Clemente, Department of Psychology, UP Diliman
  22. Dr. Antonio P. Contreras, Department of Political Science, De La Salle University
  23. Dr. Nicole Curato, Department of Sociology, UP Diliman
  24. Dr. Soledad M. Dalisay, Department of Anthropology, UP Diliman
  25. Dr. Buenaventura Dargantes, Institute for Strategic Research and Development Studies, Visayas State University
  26. Dr. Clarissa David, College of Mass Communication, UP Diliman
  27. Dr. Maria Helen F. Dayo, Gender Centre, UP Los Baños
  28. Dr. J. Prospero E. de Vera, National College of Public Administration and Governance, UP Diliman
  29. Prof. Josephine Dionisio, Department of Sociology, UP Diliman
  30. Prof. Yolanda G. Ealdama, College of Social Work and Community Development, UP Diliman
  31. Prof. Adonis Elumbre, College of Social Sciences, UP Baguio
  32. Dr. Elizabeth L. Enriquez, College of Mass Communication, UP Diliman
  33. Prof. Melba S. Estonilo, College of Mass Communication, UP Diliman
  34. Prof. Nicardo M. Falcis II, Business Administration Department, UP Diliman
  35. Prof. Josefa Francisco, Women and Gender Institute, Miriam College
  36. Dr. Jean S. Encinas-Franco, Department of Political Science, UP Diliman
  37. Dr. Eduardo T. Gonzalez, Asian Center, UP Diliman
  38. Dr. Marita Castro Guevara, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, Ateneo de Manila University
  39. Dr. Filomin Candaliza-Gutierrez, Department of Sociology, UP Diliman
  40. Prof. Jose C. Gutierrez III, College of Mass Communication, UP Diliman
  41. Prof. Vito Hernandez, Archaeological Studies Program, University of the Philippines
  42. Prof. Ronald D. Holmes, Department of Political Science, De La Salle University
  43. Prof. Arturo Benedicto M. Ilano, College of Business Administration, UP Diliman
  44. Dr. Grace Gorospe Jamon, Department of Political Science, UP Diliman
  45. Dr. Lydia N. Yu Jose, Department of Political Science, Ateneo de Manila University
  46. Dr. Antonio La Vina, Ateneo School of Government, Ateneo de Manila University
  47. Dr. Maria Elissa Jayme Lao, Department of Political Science, Ateneo de Manila University
  48. Dr. Joseph Anthony Lim, Economics Department, Ateneo de Manila University
  49. Prof. Eric Julian Manalastas, Department of Psychology and Centre for Women’s Studies, UP Diliman
  50. Dr. Florinda D.F. Mateo, College of Mass Communication, UP Diliman
  51. Dr. Teresa Melgar, Department of Sociology, UP Diliman
  52. Dr. Amado M. Mendoza, Jr., Department of Political Science, UP Diliman
  53. Dr. Maria Fe Villamejor Mendoza, National College of Public Administration and Governance, UP Diliman
  54. Dr. Meynardo P. Mendoza, Department of History, Ateneo de Manila University
  55. Dr. Ronald U. Mendoza, Asian Institute of Management
  56. Dr. Lilibeth Miralles, Research Unit Head, Visayas State University
  57. Prof. Praksis Miranda, Department of Sociology, UP Diliman
  58. Prof. Louie C. Montemar, Department of Political Science, De La Salle University
  59. Prof. Emeritus Francisco Nemenzo, Jr., Department of Political Science, UP Diliman
  60. Prof. Janine Therese P. Ochoa, Department of Anthropology, UP Diliman
  61. Dr. Rene E. Ofreneo, School of Labor and Industrial Relations, UP Diliman
  62. Dr. Rosalinda Pineda Ofreneo, College of Social Work and Community Development, UP Diliman
  63. Dr. Mary Racelis, Institute of Philippine Culture, Ateneo de Manila University
  64. Dr. Ma. Lourdes Veneracion-Rallonza, Department of Political Science, Ateneo de Manila University
  65. Prof. Sabrina Nikki Ramos, Department of Sociology, UP Diliman
  66. Prof. Rene Raymond R. Raneses, Jr., Department of Political Science, Ateneo de Manila University
  67. Prof. Ranjit Rye, Department of Political Science, UP Diliman
  68. Dr. Neil Martial R. Santillan, Department of History, UP Diliman
  69. Dr. Alma Maria O. Salvador, Department of Political Science, Ateneo de Manila University
  70. Prof. Teresita Ang See, College of Social Sciences, Ateneo de Manila University
  71. Dr. Carolyn I. Sobritchea, Asian Center, UP Diliman
  72. Prof. Randy Jay C. Solis, College of Mass Communication, UP Diliman
  73. Dr. Eduardo Climaco Tadem, Asian Center, UP Diliman
  74. Dr. Teresa Tadem, Department of Political Science, UP Diliman
  75. Prof. Efenita M. Taqueban, Department of Anthropology, UP Diliman
  76. Prof. Carlos P. Tatel, Jr., Department of Anthropology, UP Diliman
  77. Dr. Benito L. Teehankee, Management and Organization Department, De La Salle University
  78. Dr. Benjamin T. Tolosa, Jr., Department of Political Science, Ateneo de Manila University
  79. Prof. Philip Arnold P. Tuano, Economics Department, Ateneo de Manila University
  80. Dr. Faina C. Abaya-Ulindang, History Department, Mindanao State University-Marawi
  81. Dr. Helena S. Valderrama, Department of Accounting and Finance, UP Diliman
  82. Dr. Victor S. Venida, Economics Department, Ateneo de Manila University
  83. Prof. Nathalie A. Verceles, Department of Women and Development Studies, UP Diliman
  84. Prof. Myrose April C. Victor, Department of Accounting and Finance, UP Diliman
  85. Dr. Elvira A. Zamora, College of Business Administration, UP Diliman - Rappler.com

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