MANILA, Sept. 23, 2011— Now that the Philippines has joined the Open Government Partnership (OGP), it is high time for the Aquino administration to support the passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said President Aquino is not deserving to be with the OGP, which seeks promote transparency and fight corruption, sans action on the FOI bill.
“I don’t know how serious he is in being open because the passage of the FOI bill is not in his priorities,” said Pabillo who chairs the National Secretariat for Social Action of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
The prelate reiterated that the best proof of the Aquino government’s commitment to promote transparency in governance is its action on the FOI bill.
“How can you say the government is open if Aquino himself does not endorse the passage of FOI,” he said.
On Friday, Aquino returned to the country from a five-day trip to the US, wherein one of his main agenda was to attend the formal launching of the OGP.
The OGP is a multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.
In the said event, Aquino was able to seat side by side with OGP chair United States President Barack Obama, and other members of the steering committee.
The Aquino administration had been cold on the FOI bill’s passage, which would provide substantive, procedural and institutional guarantee to the people’s constitutional right to information.
Malacañang had said there is still a need to conduct more consultations with various sectors on the Freedom of Information bill. [CBCPNews]