Freedom of Information
“Ang datos ng pamahalaan ay dapat kusang isinisiwalat, sa lengwaheng maiintindihan ng lahat. Hindi na kailangang magtanong pa ang mamamayan.”
Cong. Leni Robredo authored House Bill 3237 (an earlier version of the FOI Act) and a co-author of House Bill 5801, which is known as the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. It has several key provisions which differs from the Senate version of the bill:
- a) The FOI act is supply-driven. The government should freely offer the information in a public portal and present it in such a way that it is reasonably understandable to the common person1. The competing versions of the FOI bill are demand-driven, which means citizens must request the information from the government before the government provides the data, which may make the process much more burdensome for citizens. The supply-driven aspect is further enhanced by the proposed Full Disclosure Bill (HB19).
- b) There will be a system in place for all government agencies to “establish, operate, and maintain” a web portal which would facilitate the provisions of the FOI act, and agencies will be trained to be able to properly undertake FOI-related functions. Agencies would also be responsible for tracking requests and making sure that they are fulfilled in a timely and orderly manner.
Tax Incentives Management and Transparency Act (TIMTA)
She authored House Bill 2492, which was recently passed into law. Previously, there was no reliable system that tracked tax incentives granted to individuals or private businesses. Thus the government was unable to ascertain the true magnitude of costs that it was incurring for the tax incentives it grants.
The bill’s goal is to “Enhance the current tax system by implementing measures that ensure transparency in the management and accounting of tax incentives granted to government and nongovernment entities and for other purposes.”
On December 8, 2015, President Benigno Aquino III signed TIMTA into law as Republic Act 10708.
Full Disclosure Bill
She authored House Bill 19, which is “An Act requiring full disclosure of information on fiscal management from all national government departments, bureaus, offices, agencies and other instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations, and their subsidiaries, and local government units, and providing penalties for violations thereof.”
The bill requires government agencies to pro-actively make key reports and disclosures available for viewing even if it is not being requested from them. This expands the pool of information available to the citizenry without any special requests or intervention.
- With certain exceptions, such as sensitive national-security information, ongoing diplomatic negotiation details, sensitive police, border control, military procedures, etc. ↩