The IFJ in observance of Freedom of Information Day in the Philippines, calls on the Aquino Government to pass the FOI Bill

The International Federation of Journalists

stands in unity with its affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the

Philippines (NUJP) and the Philippinemedia

community to observe Freedom of Information Day and reiterate demands for the Aquino

government to pass the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.


In a

meeting on August 3, the NUJP, the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ngPilipinas (KBP), Philippine Press Institute (PPI),

ABS-CBN and GMA networks, the Philippine Centre for InvestigativeJournalism (PCIJ) and blogger groups declared August

15 Freedom of Information Day. The day is being used as a reminder that

the Philippines has been waiting for a freedom of information law for the past

26 years since democracy was restored, and to urge

the Aquino Government to pass the long awaited FOI bill, protecting the

people’s right to information.

In a statement, the NUJP said that “The government has run out of excuses to

delay the passage of the Freedom of Information bill. The only plausible reason

why the FOI bill continues to languish in Congress is that the administration

does not intend to see it become law.”

Additionally, the NUJP has launched a wave of national advocacy actions to push

the government to take concrete measures to pass the bill and has directly challenged

President Benigno Aquino III to stand by his commitment to pass the bill. “If

President Aquino could push the House to end the debates on the Reproductive

Health bill, despite the ire of the Catholic church, there is no reason he

cannot do the same for the FOI bill, which would earn him the people’s

appreciation.”

“Mr Aquino, believe us, there is nothing we desire more than for you to prove

us wrong. And we dare you to do so,” the NUJP added.

Media

and advocacy groups have appealed for a FOI bill since democracy was restored to

the Philippines in 1986. An FOI bill was first

filed in 1992, however over twenty years on, the Filipino people are still waiting

for a bill to be ratified, despite the dozens of bills filed and refiled.

 

The coalition of

media groups drafted a joint editorial (http://pcij.org/blog/2012/08/14/media-observe-foi-day-release-pooled-editorial)

calling for the Congress, Senate and President Benigno Aquino III himself to

swiftly act on the passage of the 20-year-old bill. “Today, we speak with one voice and join the rest of our people in demanding

political will on the part of President Aquino, Senate President Juan Ponce

Enrile, and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. to lead their respective

institutions in immediately enacting the FOI Act.”

“The Philippines

Government’s protracted deferral in passing the FOI bill is a breach of their

obligations under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and

Political Rights, guaranteeing freedom of expression, of which the Philippines

is a signatory. We call on the Aquino Government to make concrete moves to pass the FOI bill without further

delay as a demonstration of their stated commitment to freedom of information

in the Philippines,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park

said.  

 

 You are invited to join the call for passing

the FOI bill by signing an online manifesto at: http://ifoi.ph/support/. The copy of the

bill, drafted by Rep. Erin Tanada, can be accessed at: http://ifoi.ph/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/3-House-Bill-53-Ta%C3%B1ada.pdf?9d7bd4



For further information contact IFJ

Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0918

 

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represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

 

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