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Grace, Loren refile FoI bill in Senate

Sen. Loren B. Legarda yesterday joined Sen. Grace Poe in refilling the proposed Freedom of Information Act after President Duterte signed Sunday an Executive Order that would provide the public full access to documents pertaining to government projects and related matters.

“I welcome President Duterte’s EO on the FoI. This proves his commitment to restoring the people’s faith in government by strengthening transparency and accountability in public service. But we have to ensure that this system of transparency will be institutionalized and exercised by all government offices – national and local, Executive, Legislative, and the Judiciary – and in succeeding administrations. Thus, I re-filed the FoI bill as part of my Top 20 bills for this Congress,” Loren said.

Poe welcomed the signing of the FoI EO.

She said any effort to enable the people to exercise the right to information is laudable.

The lady senator, a defeated presidential candidate in the May 9 national elections, however, stressed that there is still a need to pass the FoI bill for transparency in government.

Poe, who pressed for the passage of the FoI bill by Congress in the 16th Congress, refiled her measure, now known as Senate Bill 159, or the proposed FoI Act last June 30.

In the 16th Congress, Loren was among the authors of the FoI bill. It was approved on third reading in the Senate but not in the House of Representatives.

In the 17th Congress that formally opened yesterday, the three-term senator filed the FoI bill anew under Senate Bill No. 248.

“The right to information is a constitutionally protected right under Article 3, Section 7 of the Constitution. The Supreme Court even upheld the enforceability of this right. However, its effective implementation has, for the past two decades, suffered from the lack of the necessary substantive and procedural details that only Congress can provide,” she said. (Mario B. Casayuran)