I n light of the delay in hearing the consolidated Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill in the House of Representatives, youth groups expressed their desire for the measure to be immediately tackled by the Committee on Public Information chaired by Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone.
Youth leaders recently formed the FOI Youth Initiative or the FYI, a network of organizations and student councils “that believe that transparency and accountability are prerequisites for genuine social transformation.” These groups come from schools such as the University of the Philippines System, the Ateneo de Manila University, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and the College of Saint Benilde.
Carlo Brolagda, one of the FYI’s convenors and the Chairperson of the UPD CSSP Student Council, said that “it is high time the youth join in the clamor for the FOI to be passed into law. This is our issue, too.”
“We are stakeholders of this country’s future. This is why we should be in solidarity with the campaign for the bill’s enactment,” added Brolagda.
The FYI also voiced out their dismay over the inaction of the Rep. Evardone in allowing the bill to be heard in the Committee. “We don’t buy the excuses. Malacañang has already given its support for FOI. They even have their own version. Why Chairman Evardone seems to be dilly-dallying with calendaring the bill is beyond us,” he said.
The group released a manifesto signed by its partner youth and student organizations calling on lawmakers “to sincerely respond to the interests of the people by eliminating all obstacles that cause the slow pace of tackling the measure in the legislative mill.” They also commended the 117 legislators from the House of Representatives who declared their commitment in passing the FOI Bill in a manifesto that was circulated by its authors, Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada and Rep. Walden Bello.
The FYI vowed to join in efforts of other sectors to lobby for the FOI Bill and to “recruit more young people to the campaign transforming a government that is genuinely transparent and accountable to the Filipino people.” #
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MANIFESTO OF YOUTH AND STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS
FOR THE PASSAGE OF THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION LAW
We are the FOI Youth Initiative (FYI), a network of youth and student organizations that call for transparency and accountability in government through the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill.
We are in solidarity with different sectors of society in the clamor for more solid mechanisms in ensuring governance that is open and honest to the people.
We affirm that our right to information enshrined in the Constitution* must be institutionalized through the FOI Law to guarantee that transparency among public officials and employees becomes a norm and not simply a discretion of individuals bound by their terms of office.
We believe that the FOI Law is a measure that shall curb corruption and advance participatory governance that will ultimately benefit each and every Filipino.
We appeal to Malacañang to not merely express support for the FOI Bill, but to strongly push for its enactment in fulfillment of its promise of change under the Administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III.
We call on the Senators and Representatives in the 15th Congress to sincerely respond to the interests of the people by eliminating all obstacles that cause the slow pace of tackling the measure in the legislative mill.
Finally, we invite our fellow young leaders to join us in ensuring the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill into law to strengthen democracy and to transform our government into a genuine instrument of social justice and social progress.
* “The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official 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 such limitations as may be provided by law.” – Article III (Bill of Rights), Section 7, Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, 1987
1. Carlo Brolagda, Chairperson, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy Student Council (CSSPSC), University of the Philippines – Diliman
2. Viko Fumar, President, BUKLOD CSSP, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, UP Diliman
3. Joseph Angelo Gutierrez, Chairperson, Movement of Students for Progressive Leadership in UP (MOVE UP), University of the Philippines – Los Baños
4. Ace Ligsay, Chairperson, UP Alyansa ng mga Mag-aaral para sa Panlipunang Katwiran at Kaunlaran (UP ALYANSA), UP Diliman
5. JC Tejano, National Chairperson, Bukluran ng mga Progresibong Iskolar – UP System (BUKLURAN – UP SYSTEM)
6. Tristan Daine Zinampan, Chairperson, Linking Everyone Towards Service CDC (LETS CDC), College of Development Communication, UP Los Baños
7. Joshua Lorenzo Layog, Primer, Katipunan CHE, College of Human Ecology, UP Los Baños
8. April Lamentillo, Supremo, Sandigan ng mga Iskolar para sa Nagkakaisang CAS (SINAG CAS), College of Arts and Sciences, UP Los Baños
9. Deg Daupan, President, Alternatibong Katipunan ng mga Mag-aaral (AKMA), University of the Philippines – Baguio
10. Joshua Young, Chairperson, Bigkis ng mga Iskolar Para sa Bayan Tungo sa Makabuluhang Pagbabago – UPM (BIGKIS-UPM), University of the Philippines – Manila
11. Edward Dayog, President, UP Organization of Human Rights Advocates (OHRA), UP Diliman
12. Mickey Eva, President, Coalition for Students’ Rights and Welfare (STRAW Coalition)
13. John Mark Salvador, President, Bagong Benilde, De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde
14. Curt Russel Lopez Delfin, President, Metro Manila Alliance of Communication Students (MACS)
15. Marlon Cornelio, National Chaiperson, Akbayan Youth
16. Melba Tampakan, National Chairperson, Alliance of Progressive Labor – Youth (APL Youth)
17. Marian Bahalla, Chairperson, Laban COC Party, College of Communication, Polytechnic University of the Philippines
18. Arjay Mercado, President, UP Economics Towards Consciousness (ETC), UP Diliman
19. Gio Alejo, President, Sanggunian ng mga Paaralang Loyola ng Ateneo de Manila
20. Moses Albiento, Chairperson, Alliance of Student Leaders (ASL), Ateneo de Manila University
21. Benedict Nisperos, President, Law Student Government (LSG), College of Law, UP Diliman