Juan dela Cruz has yet to recover from the furor brought about by the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill, and now comes another bill that will excite his thoughts once more.
The proposed Freedom of Information or FOI Bill has been getting a piece of the news recently, and debates won’t end, not until the bill is passed by the lawmakers down in the Lower Chamber.
The Right to Facts
Article III Section VII of the 1987 Constitution reads:
“The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to public records, and to documents, and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to limitations as may be provided by law.”
This is the essence of the FOI Bill, which will also allow the citizenry to access government records by various means: print, visual, and sound.
But ask any reporter, member of the press, individual, or member of advocacy groups investigating government transactions, or just seeking information on public records of government institutions, and he’ll tell you that at one time or another he had had a rough time securing documents, even coming out empty-handed on some, if not frequent occasions.
To this day, the government still lacks a standard, simple and expeditious method of according information to the public, even as the government’s system of storing records remains deficient, as government offices, bureaus, and units, albeit with automated operations, have yet to be linked by a uniform system of affording the greater public access to facts.
You’ve heard of government agencies which have switched system providers but encountered glitches in their systems, and as a result have messed up their records.
And to think that upgrading an agency’s procedures just to allow unrestricted access to its records can really be costly.
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