Skip to main content

Information Bill Gains Ground as Senate Starts Plenary Talks

A PRIORITY measure seeking to ensure easy access to state information was yesterday tackled at the Senate plenary session.

"Government is an instrument owned by the people, and all information in the custody of the State should be available for the people to access," Senator Gregorio B. Honasan, public information and mass media committee chairman, said in his sponsorship speech, recommending approval on second reading of the Freedom of Information (FoI) bill.

The FoI bill is part of the administration’s platform on transparency and has been identified as a priority by the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council.

"If we have freedom of information… high-placed syndicates and conspiracies, and excesses of partisan politics would be drastically reduced, if not eradicated," Mr. Honasan said.

Under the bill, "every Filipino citizen has a right to and shall, on request, be given access to any record under the control of a government agency."

The bill requires national agencies, branches and all local offices to act on requests for information or data within 15 days.


Mr. Honasan, however, said: "There are understandable exemptions, especially in areas involving foreign policy and national security, which have been used to justify decisions sometimes resulting in unnecessary loss of life and limb and even destruction of entire communities."

SB 3183 listed cases when information may be withheld, namely, if a disclosure "may cause grave damage to national security... or may weaken the... position of the government in ongoing bilateral or multilateral negotiations," it states.

In withholding information, the Executive, however, is mandated to specify a reasonable period to declassify such information, the bill said. Agencies are also required to post the Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth of officials, and income and expenditures, among others, on their Web sites.

But agency heads have the discretion on privileged and confidential information, according to SB 3183.

"If there are exceptions… it must be proven that… it will clearly be more beneficial to public interest to withhold information than to disclose it," Mr. Honasan said.

SB 3183 said complaints on withholding information may be filed either with the Department of Justice or the Ombudsman.

Officials who withhold information without basis, provide false information or destroy documentation may be slapped with administrative and criminal sanctions, it added.

The counterpart bill is still pending at the committee level in the House of Representatives.

Antonio Siegfrid O. Alegado
Posted on June 04, 2012 10:25:17 PM

Popular posts from this blog

2008 Civil Service Examination Passers - Examination Passers

Civil Service Examination - Subprofessional
CSC RO V - Rawis, Legazpi City
Date: November 16, 2008

Seq # Examinee No. Examinee Name 1 582872ABALON, MARIAN DOROTHY O 2 586574ABRAGAN, MICHAEL FRANCIS F 3 586733ACAL, KAREN KAYE I 4 586575ACERON, MILANDRO B 5 582785ADOPTANTE, ANGELO LESTER N 6 582766AGUILAR, JEROSS R 7 582952AGUILAR, RORY S 8 586835ALPARAN, OLIVE A 9 586847ALVAREZ, MICHAELSON Y 10 582594ALVAREZ, SEYCHELLE M 11 582572ANGELES, MIRALYN A 12 582669ARCILLA, ARMIE A 13 582904ARCOS, EDEN R 14 582790ATIGA, RIENA M 15 586625AUREUS, EDGAR MANUEL A 16 582761AVENIDO, PRECIOUS B 17 582942AZORES, MYLA E 18 586762BAESA, MARC EDWIN S 19 582559BAEZA, ROWEL G 20 582682BAGHERI, CHERRYMAE C 21 586783BALINGBING, MAY ANN A 22 586661BARBONIO, EUGENE P 23 582812BARRAMEDA, LESLIE H 24 586558

Virac Historical Development

Virac, the capital of the island province of Catanduanes, started its primitive annals in pre-Spanish times when tribal chieftain Lumibao, scion of Datu Dumaguil who came to the Philippines with the 13 Malay dauts, andd his wife Milbigan settled near Vidak spring and founded the first civilized settlement with a score of servant followers and their wives. Some say Virac is a derivation of the word “Vidac” while others claim it is a contraction of the Spanish version of the word burac, meaning flower.
The growth of Virac in terms of governance peaked in 1972. From the original 34 barangays in 1960, Virac was able to establish 29 new communities to upgrade the present composition of 63 barangays.

Study on Snakes, Its Ecosystem, is Best CSC Undergrad Research

A groundbreaking local study which identified 21 species of snakes in a barangay in Virac and their impact on ecosystem won this year’s “Pisog nin Uswag Award,” an annual search for best undergraduate researches implemented by the Catanduanes State Colleges Research Services.


John Ronel S. Gil, a graduating BS in Biology student conducted actual samplings for his thesis titled Snake Inventory in Barangay San Vicente, Virac, Catanduanes. He documented the frequency, relative population density, morphology, classification, feeding behavior and habitat of snakes from April to December 2009.

The researcher divided the barangays of San Vicente Proper and San Vicente Ibong Sapa into four study areas or stations in conducting snake specie inventory. He classified it according to the area’s ecological make up -- rice field with a stream and an irrigation facility, forested rocky mountain with diverse canopy of trees, grassland with waterfalls and residential areas.

The snake species identif…

Viga Mayor Partners with 31 Schools on Food Production

Thirty-one schools in the municipality of Viga have entered into a partnership with Mayor Emeterio “Bong’ Tarin in the Gulayan sa Paaralan program mandated by the Department of Agriculture.



Last Nov. 5-9, Mayor Tarin and wife Ma. Theresa Lorraine made the rounds of the four high schools, 26 elementary schools and one primary school to distribute seeds as the municipal government’s assistance to the schools in said program.

“This assistance is intended to uplift the livelihood and life of my fellow Viganons,” Tarin stated, adding that the effort is being coordinated with the recipient schools and its officials, particularly Viga West district supervisor Rosario Peña and Viga East district supervisor Henry Marin, barangay captains and officials, and the DA.

Tarin initiated the grant of the assistance upon learning of the Gulayan sa Paaralan program of DA Sec. Proceso Alcala who sought to promote self-help food production activities and values among children that will emphasize agric…

NEDA V Trains CSU, LGU Staff on Project Development Preparation

As part of the technical assistance of the National Economic and Development Authority Regional Office V (NEDA V) - Bicol Project Development Committee (BPDC) to state universities and colleges and local government units (LGUs), 40 employees from Catanduanes State University (CSU), municipal and provincial government units, and non government organization in the province, were trained on Project Development and Feasibility Study Preparation on May 22-24, 2013 at the CSU Little Theater.


NEDA taught basic concepts and principles of project feasibility study preparation such as market, technical, institutional, financial, economic, environmental, and social aspects.

According to NEDA V, the capability building activity was crafted for the teaching personnel, including the staff involved in project planning and preparation activities from the different departments and colleges and local government units, to enhance skills in preparing feasibility study and project proposals.

The partic…