|Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo|
MANILA, June 2, 2012—A Catholic bishop has lauded the Senate Committee on Public Information for sponsoring a committee report consolidating the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill, and challenged the House of Representatives to do the same.
“This action was something commendable, it means that the issue of the FOI bill has improved in the Senate,” Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said during the General Assembly of the Kilusang 99% at the CBCP compound in Intramuros, May 31.
On May 29, the Senate Committee on Public Information headed by Senator Gregorio B. Honasan II has submitted the FOI bill to the plenary for deliberations.
“I hope that the House of Representative will also initiate the approval of FOI’s bill,” added Pabillo, who is also Chairman of the National Secretariat for Social Action – Justice and Peace of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (NASSA-CBCP) and convener of “Kilusang 99%”.
Pabillo said the FOI bill will help resolve the issue of alleged “lack of transparency” among government officials as was the case of the ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona.
The controversial bill, however, did not pass during the 14th Congress due to lack of interest among members of Congress.
Kilusang 99%, a social reform movement consists of more than 80 member organizations and some well-known individuals also commended the initiative of the Senate to push the passage of information bill.
“In behalf of the K99 movement, we praised the Senate Committee on Public Information for keeping intact a progressive, pro-people FOI bill,” said Ambrosio ‘Bong’ Palad, Philippine Airlines Employees' Association (PALEA) National Secretary and K99 Movement Co-Convenor.
Member organizations of the K99 movement are hoping the FOI could help lessen the corruption in the country, Palad said in an interview.
Meanwhile, the coalition “Right to Know. Right Now!” urged Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, Chairman of the House Committee on Public Information, to resolve the remaining issues on FOI and submit the committee report for plenary action.
Pabillo, together with the group, also called on House Speaker Feliciano "Sonny" Belmonte Jr. to stand on the side of the people and include the passage of the FOI bill in the congress.
“We are challenging the House of the Representatives to do their part. If we really want this transparency, approved the FOI bill,” Pabillo said. [Yen Ocampo]