The House Committee on Public Information has formed a technical working group (TWG) to discuss and consolidate 19 legislative measures on Freedom of Information (FOI).

“These measures will seek to put in place an enabling law that will help implement the provisions of the FOI,” said Cagayan Rep. Joseph Lara, the committee chairman, in a statement.

The TWG will be headed by Committee Vice Chairman and Kabayan Partylist Rep. Ron Salo. It will consolidate 19 House bills.
In July 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order (EO) 2, operationalizing in the executive department the constitutional right to information and state policies on full public disclosure and transparency in public service.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Undersecretary Kristian Ablan told the committee that the executive department’s recommended version of the FOI bill was House Bill 5776, authored by Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas.

It is designed to combat fake news, he said.

Ablan told the panel that House Bill 5776 has three salient features that the executive department wanted to include in the new FOI law: the “No Wrong Door Policy,” creation of an independent FOI Commission and the improvement of the government’s records management system.

Ablan assured the panel that EO 2 was effective in the distribution of important information during the pandemic. Jade Veronique V. Yap