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Comparing the Senate and House Bills on Access to Information

In May 2008, the House of Representatives approved,on final reading, a Freedom of Information Bill, House Bill 3732. After more than a year, the Senate passed, on final reading, its own version, Senate Bill 3308. The two bills will be consolidated by a bicameral conference committee that will likely meet in Janury 2010.

Copies of the bills can be downloaded by clicking the links below. We also have a matrix comparing the provisions of the two bills.

House Bill 3732 (in pdf, 131 kb).

Senate Bill 3308 (in pdf, 62kb).

Matrix: Comparing SB 3308 and HB 3732 (in pdf, 139 kb)

SENATE PASSES S.B. 3308 ON 2nd READING

SENATE PASSES S.B. 3308 ON 2nd READING
AMID DARK CLOUD OF MARTIAL LAW, LEGISLATORS GIVE LIGHT

On 7 December 2009, the Senate approved on second reading Senate Bill 3308, or the Freedom of Information Act. With time fast running out on the 14th Congress, we appealed to our Senators not to kill the bill. They delivered; the country is now a giant step closer to the passage of a progressive and responsive freedom of information act.

We, representatives of over 100 organizations and coalitions from various sectors comprising the Right to Know. Right Now! Campaign, express our congratulations and deep gratitude to the Senate, under the leadership of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, for pulling through for the Filipino people.

WE ARE JOINING THE RALLY TO CLAIM OUR FREEDOM OF INFORMATION!

On 7 December 2009, Monday, the Right to Know. Right Now! Campaign will hold a multisectoral march/rally to appeal to the Senate to make good its commitment to pass the Freedom of Information Act.

Looking at the Senate’s legislative calendar, we see that the session days on December 7, 8 and 9 represent the last clear chance for SB 3308 to hurdle approval on second reading. This leaves just enough time for the bill’s approval on third reading and nomination by The Senate of its conferees to the bicameral conference committee in the following week.

DON’T KILL FREEDOM OF INFORMATION

DON’T KILL FREEDOM OF INFORMATION:
WE BEG OUR SENATORS TO ACT ON S.B. 3308 NOW!

Last 9 November, we welcomed with deep appreciation the Senate’s commitment to pass the Freedom of Information Act without delay. We gave our full confidence to their assurance, made through Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, that Senate Bill 3308 will be passed on second reading by November 18, and on third reading by 1 December. This timetable only gives enough time to convene the bicameral conference committee and report back for final approval of the bill before Congress breaks for the elections on 5 February 2010.

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We quote Senator Zubiri’s manifestation in plenary session:

“I assure them, we assure them, that before the break on November 19 that hopefully we will be able to approve this on second reading, and when we get back on December 1, we approve this on third and final reading. We assure them.”

But the promise was not met; the Senate adjourned with the bill still failing to hurdle the periods of interpellation and amendments.

We, representatives of over 100 organizations and coalitions from various sectors comprising the Right to Know. Right Now! Campaign, beg all our Senators to send Senate Bill 3308 to bicameral conference before it again adjourns on 18 December 2009. Since the Senate resumed session last December 1, two session days have passed without any action on the bill. From December 7, we count a mere 6 session days within which to pass S.B. 3308 on second and third reading, and for both Houses to name their delegates to the bicameral conference committee.

Group for Transparency in the Mining Industry to be Formed

The Philippine equivalent of the Publish What You Pay (PWYP) is being formally organized in the Philippines. Action for Economic Reforms (AER) and Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), in cooperation with PWYP, Revenue Watch, and 11.11.11, organized a two-day workshop on 13-14 October 2009 towards forming a network that likewise serves as an institute that will advocate transparency of contracts, revenues, spending and the whole value chain of the extractive industries. Given, the pressing concerns, the composition of the group, and the resource constraints, the focus of the advocacy, at least on the early stage, is mining.

Thirty-two (32) representatives, representing 19 organizations participated in the two-day workshop. The participating individuals and organizations came from different sectors. Some are environmental groups; others focus on transparency issues. A few individuals or groups work on economic issues (e,g., taxation) And a significant number are groups opposed to or critical of the way extractive industries are being done in the Philippines.