Several stakeholders from both public and the private sector increased their lobbying and advocacy work for the passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill by the 16th Philippine Congress. The FOI Bill has been proposed for more than 10 years but has not been given sufficient attention by lawmakers.
In early July this year, civil society groups filed the FOI Bill in behalf of the Filipino people. The advocates found an ally in Senator Grace Poe Llamanzares who seeks to push support for the bill in both lower and upper houses of the Philippine congress. The increased advocacy work on the FOI is accentuated by the recent pork barrel scam affecting legislatures in the country.
The FOI Bill, when passed, will significantly affect not only national governments, but also local governments in the country. It will supplement the current Full Disclosure Policy that requires local government units to post finance-related information in LGU websites and the Full Disclosure Policy Portal.
Meanwhile, the Open LGU Research Project, a project with funding support from Canada's International Development Research Center through the World Wide Web Foundation, has just completed the fieldwork for one of the case study sites, the province of Bohol. Two additional provinces will be included in the study in the next three months.