THE freedom of information (FOI) bill is supposed to improve transparency and help eliminate graft and corruption in the government.
But it is disheartening to note that the proposed legislation has languished in Congress for many years, drawing the ire of the people.
Thus, it is certainly high time for our distinguished lawmakers -- senators and congressmen -- to pass the new draft of the FOI bill when they resume session later this month.
The new draft, a consolidation of 33 bills, one resolution and a privilege speech, has been presented to the House public information committee for further deliberations.
A technical working group (TWG) worked on the substitute bill for two months before presenting it to the said committee, headed by party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio.
Tinio said the TWG, in drafting the substitute bill, had taken into consideration President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s Executive Order (EO) No. 2, which was issued on July 23, 2016.
The EO put into operation in the executive branch the people’s constitutional right to information and the State policies to full public disclosure and transparency in the public service.
Bukidnon Rep. Manuel Zubiri said that once enacted into law, the FOI bill could be an effective deterrent to corruption, which is pervasive in this poverty-stricken Southeast Asian nation.
Hopefully, the FOI bill excites its prospective beneficiaries, including members of the Fourth Estate, into working harder.
After all, the proposed landmark legislation is designed to address graft and corruption in the government service.