After long struggle, the passage of the Freedom of Information Act is finally near at hand!

Statement of Right to Know Right Now! Network
Wednesday, 27 January 2010
A
fter long struggle, the passage of the Freedom of Information Act is finally near at hand!
At the resumption of session last Monday (18 January), we marched to the House of Representatives with a rally contingent of 1000 to call on our House of Representatives to stand for Freedom of Information. With Committee on Public Information Chairman Bienvenido Abante, Jr., Vice Chairman Eduardo Zialcita, Committee TWG Chairman Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III, and Minority member Rufus Rodriguez, we met with Speaker Prospero Nograles to appeal for the immediate constitution of the House Panel to the Bicameral Conference Committee on the Freedom of Information Act.
We were not frustrated. The final act of Congress before it adjourned for the day was the naming of the following members to the House Panel: Rep. Bienvenido Abante, Jr. (Chairman), Rep. Eduardo Zialcita, Rep. Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III, Rep. Rodolfo Antonino, Rep. Jesus Crispin Remulla, Rep. Rodante Marcoleta for the Majority, and Rep. Joel Villanueva and Rep. Cinchona Cruz-Gonzales for the Minority.
On Wednesday, 20 January, the Bicameral Conference Committee met at the Senate to reconcile the disagreeing provisions of House Bill 3732 and Senate Bill 3308. Present were Senators Alan Peter Cayetano (Chairman) and Juan Miguel Zubiri for the Senate Panel, and Representatives Abante (Chairman), Zialcita, Tañada, Antonino, and Cruz-Gonzales for the House Panel.
We congratulate the conferees present for discharging their legislative work with efficiency and dispatch. Noting that the Senate Committee on Public Information used the House Bill as starting point, the two panels agreed to focus their discussion on the amendments introduced by the Senate. Even as these amendments were meant to address remaining legitimate concerns raised by stakeholders and by Senators, Representatives Abante, Zialcita, Tañada, Antonino, and Cruz-Gonzales still took the responsibility and care to ask further clarifications, and to introduce further refinements and improvements. The result is a reconciled bill that is as much a House as it is a Senate version.
With the Bicameral Conference Committee Report approved on the same day, Freedom of Information is back on track.
We look to the Senate and to the House of Representatives to complete the final legislative actions on the bill this week. With efficient work from the Senate and House Committee secretariats, the Senate Panel has already signed the Bicameral Conference Committee Report and we only await the signatures of the House Panel.
We look forward to the prompt filing of the signed Report and to its distribution to our Senators and Representatives. We eagerly await immediate action by each House on the Bicameral Conference Committee Report. For a few minutes of session on Tuesday or Wednesday (26 or 27 January), we count on our Senators and Congressmen to set aside political contentions that go with the nearing elections, and unanimously ratify the Bicameral Conference Committee Report on the Freedom of Information Act.
The Freedom of Information Act will address the substantive and procedural gaps that have long prevented our full enjoyment of our right to information. It will supply a definite procedure for access, enumerate clearly the information that government may validly keep secret, spell out the remedies in cases of denial, impose penalties for unlawful violation of our right to information, require the automatic disclosure of important government transactions, and establish mechanisms for the active promotion of openness in government.
When finally signed into law by the President, we have no doubt that the Freedom of Information Act will be a strategic and most significant contribution of the 14th Congress to the fundamental renewal of public institutions in our country.
Right to Know. Right Now!
Right to Know. Right Now! Campaign
Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III — 4th District, Quezon Province
Rep. Joel Villanueva — CIBAC Party List
Rep. Del De Guzman — 2nd District, Marikina City
Rep. Riza Hontiveros-Baraquel and Rep. Walden Bello — Akbayan
Atty. Nepomuceno Malaluan — Action for Economic Reforms (AER)
Dr. Florangel Rosario – Braid Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC)
Dean Antonio La Viña — Ateneo School of Government (ASoG)
Ms. Angelica Simone Mangahas — Ateneo Debate Society
Ms. Adelina Alvarez — Center for Community Journalism and Development (CCJD)
Prof. Luis Teodoro — Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR)
Atty. Roberto Cadiz — LIBERTAS
Mr. Sonny Fernandez and Mr. Nestor Burgos — National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)
Mr. Bartholome Guingona — pagbabago@pilipinas
Ms. Malou Mangahas — Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ)
Mr. Vincent T. Lazatin — Transparency and Accountability Network (TAN)
Atty. Virginia S. Jose Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC)
Mr. Joshua Mata — Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL)
Mr. Alberto Lim — Makati Business Club
Ms. Ellene Sana — Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA)
Ms. Ester Perez Tagle — Concerned Citizens Against Pollution (COCAP)
Ms. Luz Malihiran — Community Organizers Multiversity
Mr. Sammy Gamboa — EU-ASEAN FTA Campaign Network-Philippines
Mr. Al Alegre — Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA)
Mr. Milo Tanchuling — Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC)
Ms. Judy Pasimio — Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center – Kasama sa Kalikasan
Atty. Ma. Tanya Karina Lat and Mr. Arnel Mateo — IDEALS, Inc.
Mr. Jude Esguerra and Mr. Doy Cinco — Institute for Popular Democracy (IPD)
Mr. Ric Serrano — La Liga Policy Institute
Mr. Rey Rasing — Labor Education and Research Network (LEARN)
Atty. Farah Marie Decano — Lady Local Legislators’ League of the Philippines, Inc. (Four-L Phils.)
Mr. Raymond Marvic C. Baguilat — University of the Philippines – Law Student Government
Mr. Ed Mora — Pambansang Kaisahan ng Magbubukid sa Pilipinas (PKMP)
Mr. Isagani Serrano — Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement
Ms. Annie Geron — Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK)
Mr. Carlos Magtolis, Jr. — Siliman University – ASPAP
Ms. Evi-Ta Jimenez — Center for People Empowerment in Governance
Mr. Joseph Purugganan — Stop the New Round Coalition
Dr. Sixto K. Roxas — Maximo T. Kalaw Institute for Sustainable Development
Mr. Ben-Hur Sacopla — Southern Luzon State University ASPAP – Region IV
Ms. Eirene Aguila — Team RP
Prof. Leonor M. Briones — Social Watch Philippines
Ms. Mae V. Buenaventura — Women’s Legal Bureau, Inc.
Ms. Jenina Joy Chavez — Focus on the Global South – Philippines Program
Mr. Ramon Tuazon — Philippines Communication Society
Ms. Ana Maria R. Nemenzo and Ms. Mercedes Fabros — WomanHealth Philippines
Dr. Buenaventura B. Dargantes — Program on Integrated Water Resources Management RDE, Institute for Strategic Research and Development Studies, Visayas State University
Mr. Boy Nuera — Pandayan para sa Sosyalistang Pilipinas (PANDAYAN)
Mr. Roy Calfoforo — People’s Alternative Studies Center for Research and Education in Social Develoment (PASCRES)
Mr. Alain Pascua — Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan All Filipino Democratic Movement (KAAKBAY)
Mr. Horacio T. Cadiz — The Philippine Network Foundation, Inc (PHNET)
Mr. Joe Valencia — KASAPI-HELLAS
Mr. Nestor Villanueva — Akbayan Greece
Mr. Sixto Donato Macasaet — CODE-NGO
Mr. Jun S. Aguilar — Filipino Migrant Workers
Mr. Pablo Rosales — Progresibong Alyansa ng mga Mangingisda (PANGISDA)
Pambansang Katipunan ng Makabayang Magbubukid (PKKM)
Kilusan Para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (KPD)
Ms. Lourdes M. Tison — Paghiliusa sa Paghidaet-Negros (PsPN)
Mr. Abby Y. Pato — Task Force on Food Sovereignty Mindanao
Ms. Karen Tañada — Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute
Ms. Mardi Mapa-Suplido — Negros Peace Watch
Dr. Jose Reuben Alagaran — Philippines Communication Society
Ms. Aurora Regalado — Management Organization for Development and Empowerment, Inc.
Mr. Ernesto Lim Jr. — People’s Campaign on Agrarian Reform (AR NOW!)
Mr. Anthony Marzan — KAISAHAN
Mr. Jesus Vicente Garganera — Alyansa Tigil Mina
Ms. Luz Cabucos-Fegarido — RSW
Ms. Maria Lisa Alano — Alternate Forum for Research in Mindanao (AFRIM), Inc.
Dr. Jose Reuben Alagaran II — Philippines Communication Society
Ms. Ma. Lourdes M. Tison — Paghiliusa sa Paghidaet-Negros (PsPN)
Mr. Joel Saracho — GCAP-Phils
Ms. Trinidad Domingo — Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan
Mr. Richard Gutierrez — Ban Toxics
Mr. Nonoy Oplas — Minimal Government Thinkers
Mr. Harvey Keh — Kaya Natin! Movement
Mr. Czarina Sacaguing —  Confederation of Student Government in the Philippines
Mr. Byron Abadeza — Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific
Dr. Ma. Olivia Domingo — Center for Leadership, Citizenship and Democracy, UP-NCPAG
Dr. Angelo Ramos — Philippine Community e-Center Network
Ms. Mae Sabio Sulong — CARPER
Mr. Diosdado Calmada — PEACE
Ms. Lanie Factor — Task Force Mapalad
Ms. Maris Dela Cruz – Cardenas — EmPOWER Consumers
Mr. Wilson Fortaleza — Partido ng Mangagawa
Atty. Elpidio Peria — Third World Network; Vice Chairman, Social Concerns Committee, IBP South Cotabato – General Santos City Chapter
Prof. Gigi Francisco — Miriam College – International Studies Department
Mr. Obet Pagdanganan — Coalition for Health Advocacy and Transparency (CHAT)
Mr. Omi Royandoyan — Centro Saka
Ms. Carolyn Arguillas — MindaNews
Mr. Abner Francisco — DXCA – FM
Ms. Florencia Casanova-Dorotan — Women’s Action Network for Development
Ms. Violeta Corral — Aksyon para sa Kapayapaan at Katarungan
Mr. Crispino Aguelo — Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA)
Ms. Michelle Domocol — Visayas Climate Action Network
Judge Dolores L. Español (Ret.) — Transparency International – Philippines
Mr. Roby Alampay — Southeast Asian Press Alliance
Ms. Teresita Quintos Deles — International Center on Innovation, Transformation and Excellence in Governance (INCITEGov)
Ms. Maita Gomez — Bantay Kita
Mr. Rey Hulog — Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas
Mr. Jose Pavia — Philippine Press Institute
Mr. Isagani Yambot — Philippine Daily Inquirer
College Editors Guild of the Philippines
Ms. Emy M. Santos — National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO)
Ms. Tes M. Borgoños — Manggagawang Kababaihang Mithi ay Paglaya (MAKALAYA)
Ms. Marilyn Fuentes — National Union of Building and Construction Workers (NUBCW)
Atty. Michael Yu — Integrated Bar of the Philippines- Cebu City Chapter
Dr. Prospero E. de Vera — National College of Public Administration and Governance, University of the Philippines
Sylvia Estrada Claudio, M.D. PhD. — Center for Women’s Studies, University of the Philippines
Mr. Viktor Samuel Fontanilla — UP ALYANSA
Ms. Anna Luz Lopez — UP BUKLOD CSSP
Mr. Jeffrey Crisostomo — AKBAYAN Youth – UP Diliman
Ms. Susan Ople — Blas Ople Foundation
Mr. Romeo Cabugnasan — Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino
Initiative for International Dialogue

Statement of Right to Know Right Now! Network

At the resumption of session last Monday (18 January), we marched to the House of Representatives with a rally contingent of 1000 to call on our House of Representatives to stand for Freedom of Information. With Committee on Public Information Chairman Bienvenido Abante, Jr., Vice Chairman Eduardo Zialcita, Committee TWG Chairman Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III, and Minority member Rufus Rodriguez, we met with Speaker Prospero Nograles to appeal for the immediate constitution of the House Panel to the Bicameral Conference Committee on the Freedom of Information Act.

We were not frustrated. The final act of Congress before it adjourned for the day was the naming of the following members to the House Panel: Rep. Bienvenido Abante, Jr. (Chairman), Rep. Eduardo Zialcita, Rep. Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III, Rep. Rodolfo Antonino, Rep. Jesus Crispin Remulla, Rep. Rodante Marcoleta for the Majority, and Rep. Joel Villanueva and Rep. Cinchona Cruz-Gonzales for the Minority.

On Wednesday, 20 January, the Bicameral Conference Committee met at the Senate to reconcile the disagreeing provisions of House Bill 3732 and Senate Bill 3308. Present were Senators Alan Peter Cayetano (Chairman) and Juan Miguel Zubiri for the Senate Panel, and Representatives Abante (Chairman), Zialcita, Tañada, Antonino, and Cruz-Gonzales for the House Panel.

We congratulate the conferees present for discharging their legislative work with efficiency and dispatch. Noting that the Senate Committee on Public Information used the House Bill as starting point, the two panels agreed to focus their discussion on the amendments introduced by the Senate. Even as these amendments were meant to address remaining legitimate concerns raised by stakeholders and by Senators, Representatives Abante, Zialcita, Tañada, Antonino, and Cruz-Gonzales still took the responsibility and care to ask further clarifications, and to introduce further refinements and improvements. The result is a reconciled bill that is as much a House as it is a Senate version.

With the Bicameral Conference Committee Report approved on the same day, Freedom of Information is back on track.

We look to the Senate and to the House of Representatives to complete the final legislative actions on the bill this week. With efficient work from the Senate and House Committee secretariats, the Senate Panel has already signed the Bicameral Conference Committee Report and we only await the signatures of the House Panel.

We look forward to the prompt filing of the signed Report and to its distribution to our Senators and Representatives. We eagerly await immediate action by each House on the Bicameral Conference Committee Report. For a few minutes of session on Tuesday or Wednesday (26 or 27 January), we count on our Senators and Congressmen to set aside political contentions that go with the nearing elections, and unanimously ratify the Bicameral Conference Committee Report on the Freedom of Information Act.

The Freedom of Information Act will address the substantive and procedural gaps that have long prevented our full enjoyment of our right to information. It will supply a definite procedure for access, enumerate clearly the information that government may validly keep secret, spell out the remedies in cases of denial, impose penalties for unlawful violation of our right to information, require the automatic disclosure of important government transactions, and establish mechanisms for the active promotion of openness in government.

When finally signed into law by the President, we have no doubt that the Freedom of Information Act will be a strategic and most significant contribution of the 14th Congress to the fundamental renewal of public institutions in our country.

Right to Know. Right Now!

Right to Know. Right Now! Campaign

Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III — 4th District, Quezon Province

Rep. Joel Villanueva — CIBAC Party List

Rep. Del De Guzman — 2nd District, Marikina City

Rep. Riza Hontiveros-Baraquel and Rep. Walden Bello — Akbayan

Atty. Nepomuceno Malaluan — Action for Economic Reforms (AER)

Dr. Florangel Rosario – Braid Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC)

Dean Antonio La Viña — Ateneo School of Government (ASoG)

Ms. Angelica Simone Mangahas — Ateneo Debate Society

Ms. Adelina Alvarez — Center for Community Journalism and Development (CCJD)

Prof. Luis Teodoro — Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR)

Atty. Roberto Cadiz — LIBERTAS

Mr. Sonny Fernandez and Mr. Nestor Burgos — National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)

Mr. Bartholome Guingona — pagbabago@pilipinas

Ms. Malou Mangahas — Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ)

Mr. Vincent T. Lazatin — Transparency and Accountability Network (TAN)

Atty. Virginia S. Jose Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC)

Mr. Josua Mata — Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL)

Mr. Alberto Lim — Makati Business Club

Ms. Ellene Sana — Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA)

Ms. Ester Perez Tagle — Concerned Citizens Against Pollution (COCAP)

Ms. Luz Malihiran — Community Organizers Multiversity

Mr. Sammy Gamboa — EU-ASEAN FTA Campaign Network-Philippines

Mr. Al Alegre — Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA)

Mr. Milo Tanchuling — Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC)

Ms. Judy Pasimio — Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center – Kasama sa Kalikasan

Atty. Ma. Tanya Karina Lat and Mr. Arnel Mateo — IDEALS, Inc.

Mr. Jude Esguerra and Mr. Doy Cinco — Institute for Popular Democracy (IPD)

Mr. Ric Serrano — La Liga Policy Institute

Mr. Rey Rasing — Labor Education and Research Network (LEARN)

Atty. Farah Marie Decano — Lady Local Legislators’ League of the Philippines, Inc. (Four-L Phils.)

Mr. Raymond Marvic C. Baguilat — University of the Philippines – Law Student Government

Mr. Ed Mora — Pambansang Kaisahan ng Magbubukid sa Pilipinas (PKMP)

Mr. Isagani Serrano — Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement

Ms. Annie Geron — Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK)

Mr. Carlos Magtolis, Jr. — Siliman University – ASPAP

Ms. Evi-Ta Jimenez — Center for People Empowerment in Governance

Mr. Joseph Purugganan — Stop the New Round Coalition

Dr. Sixto K. Roxas — Maximo T. Kalaw Institute for Sustainable Development

Mr. Ben-Hur Sacopla — Southern Luzon State University ASPAP – Region IV

Ms. Eirene Aguila — Team RP

Prof. Leonor M. Briones — Social Watch Philippines

Ms. Mae V. Buenaventura — Women’s Legal Bureau, Inc.

Ms. Jenina Joy Chavez — Focus on the Global South – Philippines Program

Mr. Ramon Tuazon — Philippines Communication Society

Ms. Ana Maria R. Nemenzo and Ms. Mercedes Fabros — WomanHealth Philippines

Dr. Buenaventura B. Dargantes — Program on Integrated Water Resources Management RDE, Institute for Strategic Research and Development Studies, Visayas State University

Mr. Boy Nuera — Pandayan para sa Sosyalistang Pilipinas (PANDAYAN)

Mr. Roy Calfoforo — People’s Alternative Studies Center for Research and Education in Social Develoment (PASCRES)

Mr. Alain Pascua — Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan All Filipino Democratic Movement (KAAKBAY)

Mr. Horacio T. Cadiz — The Philippine Network Foundation, Inc (PHNET)

Mr. Joe Valencia — KASAPI-HELLAS

Mr. Nestor Villanueva — Akbayan Greece

Mr. Sixto Donato Macasaet — CODE-NGO

Mr. Jun S. Aguilar — Filipino Migrant Workers

Mr. Pablo Rosales — Progresibong Alyansa ng mga Mangingisda (PANGISDA)

Pambansang Katipunan ng Makabayang Magbubukid (PKKM)

Kilusan Para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (KPD)

Ms. Lourdes M. Tison — Paghiliusa sa Paghidaet-Negros (PsPN)

Mr. Abby Y. Pato — Task Force on Food Sovereignty Mindanao

Ms. Karen Tañada — Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute

Ms. Mardi Mapa-Suplido — Negros Peace Watch

Dr. Jose Reuben Alagaran — Philippines Communication Society

Ms. Aurora Regalado — Management Organization for Development and Empowerment, Inc.

Mr. Ernesto Lim Jr. — People’s Campaign on Agrarian Reform (AR NOW!)

Mr. Anthony Marzan — KAISAHAN

Mr. Jesus Vicente Garganera — Alyansa Tigil Mina

Ms. Luz Cabucos-Fegarido — RSW

Ms. Maria Lisa Alano — Alternate Forum for Research in Mindanao (AFRIM), Inc.

Dr. Jose Reuben Alagaran II — Philippines Communication Society

Ms. Ma. Lourdes M. Tison — Paghiliusa sa Paghidaet-Negros (PsPN)

Mr. Joel Saracho — GCAP-Phils

Ms. Trinidad Domingo — Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan

Mr. Richard Gutierrez — Ban Toxics

Mr. Nonoy Oplas — Minimal Government Thinkers

Mr. Harvey Keh — Kaya Natin! Movement

Mr. Czarina Sacaguing —  Confederation of Student Government in the Philippines

Mr. Byron Abadeza — Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific

Dr. Ma. Olivia Domingo — Center for Leadership, Citizenship and Democracy, UP-NCPAG

Dr. Angelo Ramos — Philippine Community e-Center Network

Ms. Mae Sabio Sulong — CARPER

Mr. Diosdado Calmada — PEACE

Ms. Lanie Factor — Task Force Mapalad

Ms. Maris Dela Cruz – Cardenas — EmPOWER Consumers

Mr. Wilson Fortaleza — Partido ng Mangagawa

Atty. Elpidio Peria — Third World Network; Vice Chairman, Social Concerns Committee, IBP South Cotabato – General Santos City Chapter

Prof. Gigi Francisco — Miriam College – International Studies Department

Mr. Obet Pagdanganan — Coalition for Health Advocacy and Transparency (CHAT)

Mr. Omi Royandoyan — Centro Saka

Ms. Carolyn Arguillas — MindaNews

Mr. Abner Francisco — DXCA – FM

Ms. Florencia Casanova-Dorotan — Women’s Action Network for Development

Ms. Violeta Corral — Aksyon para sa Kapayapaan at Katarungan

Mr. Crispino Aguelo — Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA)

Ms. Michelle Domocol — Visayas Climate Action Network

Judge Dolores L. Español (Ret.) — Transparency International – Philippines

Mr. Roby Alampay — Southeast Asian Press Alliance

Ms. Teresita Quintos Deles — International Center on Innovation, Transformation and Excellence in Governance (INCITEGov)

Ms. Maita Gomez — Bantay Kita

Mr. Rey Hulog — Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas

Mr. Jose Pavia — Philippine Press Institute

Mr. Isagani Yambot — Philippine Daily Inquirer

College Editors Guild of the Philippines

Ms. Emy M. Santos — National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO)

Ms. Tes M. Borgoños — Manggagawang Kababaihang Mithi ay Paglaya (MAKALAYA)

Ms. Marilyn Fuentes — National Union of Building and Construction Workers (NUBCW)

Atty. Michael Yu — Integrated Bar of the Philippines- Cebu City Chapter

Dr. Prospero E. de Vera — National College of Public Administration and Governance, University of the Philippines

Sylvia Estrada Claudio, M.D. PhD. — Center for Women’s Studies, University of the Philippines

Mr. Viktor Samuel Fontanilla — UP ALYANSA

Ms. Anna Luz Lopez — UP BUKLOD CSSP

Mr. Jeffrey Crisostomo — AKBAYAN Youth – UP Diliman

Ms. Susan Ople — Blas Ople Foundation

Mr. Romeo Cabugnasan — Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino

Initiative for International Dialogue

This statement also posted on Newsbreak online

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