09 July 2012
BENIGNO S. AQUINO III
President of the Philippines
Thru: Hon. Manuel L. Quezon III
Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office
Subject: Passage of the Freedom of Information Act
Dear Mr. President:
We are members of the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition, a broad network of organizations and individuals from various social sectors and civil-society groups that have long been campaigning for the passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.
We have welcomed your endorsement in January this year of the FOI bill, with amendments to address a number of concerns that you have previously raised. We regard your endorsement as an affirmation of your administration’s commitment to transparency, accountability, and good governance. Indeed, the passage of the Freedom of Information Act is an indispensable step to institutionalize transparency as the mandatory norm rather than a mere discretion for government, to carry on to succeeding administrations.
Unfortunately, the realization of the FOI law is uncertain. While it is getting a determined push in the Senate, it remains stuck at the House Committee on Public Information. The inaction in the House, we fear, reflects lingering resistance and lack of commitment.
Given the apparent resistance to FOI in the House of Representatives, and the reality that the time available to pass this measure is fast closing on the 15th Congress, a decisive push from the Executive, similar to what we have seen in the postponement of the ARMM election, the impeachment of Chief Justice Corona, and the ongoing legislation of the sin taxes, will be necessary for the FOI law to finally pass.
As part of this decisive push, we humbly appeal for a reiteration and amplification of your support for the immediate passage of the FOI law in your upcoming State of the Nation Address (SONA). Such reaffirmation from the President will signal the administration's political will on FOI, and contribute substantially to motivating the House leadership and the House committee to take action.
We look forward to your favorable consideration of our appeal, and await with anticipation your SONA.
Very truly yours,
Right to Know. Right Now!
Advocacy and Development Cooperation Office
Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM)
Tel No. : (02) 372-4991, 3712107
Fax No. (02) 372-4995