House panel approves FOI bill with 8 exceptions

MANILA, Philippines – The House committee on public information unanimously approved the bill seeking the full public disclosure of all government offices on Wednesday, February 15. 

The House panel gave its approval to the proposed Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, which would mandate that all government offices across the 3 branches "make their records available to the public insofar as they are related to any government contract or transaction."

"The policy of full public disclosure is not fully fleshed out in our current laws. The FOI bill seeks to address that gap," said committee chairperson and ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio in a statement. (READ: Freedom of Information law: Will it pass under Duterte?

The House FOI bill, however, also lists 8 exceptions. Access to information would be granted unless:

The application of these exceptions would be determined by the head of the government agency concerned or any official designated by him or her.

With the FOI bill's approval at the committee level, it is now set for 2nd reading during the House plenary session.  

The FOI bill is one of the priority measures of President Rodrigo Duterte.

In July 2016, Duterte signed an executive order mandating full public disclosure of all offices under the executive branch.  

Read a copy of the FOI bill version as passed by the House committee on public information below:

 

– Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the Senate and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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