Freedom of Information Bill in the Philippines

Probably the most important bill in congress right now: a bill that seeks a more open and transparent (and ideally limited) government in the Philippines.

erin tanada manuel quezon
Representative Erin TaƱada and MLQ3

I attended the CMFR (Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility) Policy on the Freedom of Information (FOI). Many important people were there that day. Important in the sense that they all somehow had influence when it comes to any possibility of passing the Freedom of Information Bill (a sufficient one, meaning enhances freedom rather than limit it). People from the media, lawmakers and bureaucrats, lawyers, economists, and bloggers like me were in attendance.

The bill basically attempts to make the Philippine government open and transparent and gives individuals the power to audit or question all kinds of spending and policymaking. All spending and suppliers will be listed online for all projects. I do believe that before any other kind of major bill to be passed this one should be priority and must be enforced.

There are a lot of problems though with our lawmakers and bureaucrats over at the Presidential Communications Group who are trying to limit freedom instead of enhancing it. They include arbitrary fees, suppression of "classified" information, creation of a bureaucracy that will manage the transparency of government, and many others.

harry santos
Sharing my Two Cents during the Forum

Transparency is the first step, I believe, in limiting and minimizing the scope and size of government,  in getting rid of corruption, and in revealing the much needed pro-market reforms for the peace and prosperity of our nation.

It's funny how PNoy exposed to the nation how PAGCOR spent billions just on coffee alone during his SONA, has fought for Freedom of Information even back when he was just a senator, and now all of a sudden he doesn't even talk about it at all. MLQ3 avoids the question by saying it's all about "political timing". He was so big on anti-corruption back during the presidential campaigns. And now he combines his "anti-wangwang" rhetoric with continuing attempts to investigate the previous administration and that's it?

We need transparency now. This should be priority. PNoy's selling point during the campaign Kapag Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap is true. And to achieve that we need to have an open and transparent government with limited powers and spending capabilities.


  1. It just makes me wonder why despite the liberal party rules PH politics, FOI (exactly a concrete implementation of limited size of government, which is a rallying point among liberals) still finds it difficult to become a law???

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