Legarda Files FOI Bill Anew

July 19, 2013

Acknowledging the importance of transparency and accountability in government service, Senator Loren Legarda has filed anew the proposed Freedom of Information (FOI) Act under Senate Bill No. 514.

Legarda said that the FOI Bill mandates all government agencies to disclose information on public interest transactions, documents or records, and provide other information as requested by the public.

Government agencies will be required to disclose, through posting in their respective bulletin boards and official websites, transactions such as contracts with the private sector, procurement contracts, loans, grants and other programs entered into by government agencies with other entities, private organizations or foreign institutions.

“Through this measure any person can access information concerning public interest from government agencies, provided that they make the appropriate request,” said Legarda.

“But there are certain information that must be kept confidential especially that which may compromise the nation’s security, jeopardize negotiations or diplomatic relations with other nations, and intrude on privacy or endanger the life and safety of an individual. Request for access or public disclosure of such information may be denied, but the agency concerned is required to make the appropriate explanation,” she added.

Legarda said that freedom of information is an essential prerequisite for a modern democracy.

“It is a key foundation to the effective exercise of cognate rights such as the freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of expression, as well as the right of the people and their organizations to effective and reasonable participation at all levels of social, political and economic decision-making,” she stressed.

“Transparency in the public sector enables our people to engage in meaningful participation, promotes accountability, and mitigates corruption, which has long been a major obstacle to our country’s development,” Legarda concluded.