Finally, FOI moves to House plenary
The Freedom of Information Act will now move to the plenary after the House committee on public information approved its report on the bill Tuesday.

RESURRECTED. Seventeen members of the House committee on public information voted to adopt the consolidated Freedom of Information Act. Photo by Angela Casauay

MANILA, Philippines – The Freedom of Information bill (FOI bill) finally moves to the House plenary after the House committee on public information approved its final report on the bill Tuesday, December 11.

It’s a technicality that delayed the bill. The committee approved the bill on November 27. In other ocassions, the report would just be circulated among members for their signatures. But committee chair Eastern Samar Rep Ben Evardone opted to call another committee hearing to approve the final report.

Evardone told reporters in a text message that he plans to sponsor the bill before the plenary “hopefully by next week.”

Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada, one of the authors of the bill, wants it sponsored on Wednesday, December 12.

“We will submit it for sponsorship on December 12. I hope Cong Ben will honor his commitment and support the bill,” Taňada said. 

With only 4 session days left before Congress pauses for the Christmas break, Tañada said the integrity of Evardone will be put into question if he fails to sponsor the bill by Wednesday. He did not attend the hearing,

Tañada said FOI could be approved on second reading when House members return to work in January. 

When the bill failed to hurdle the committee level on November 13, FOI advocates declared the bill as “dead.”

Camiguin Rep Pedro Romualdo expressed his opposition to the bill before the committee report was signed, saying that provisions concerning private sectors should be incorporated in the bill. 

Romualdo was also the same lawmaker who raised the question of quorum when the House was about to ratify the FOI in the 15th Congress. –