That sentiment was expressed recently at the Freedom of Information (FOI) Youth Caravan, sponsored by the National Youth Commission, held at MinDa Conference Hall, Mindanao Development Authority Office, Davao City, on October 19, 2015, where two supporters of the event expressed the need to pass the proposed bill for the development of the economy
Julia Sta. Romana, Content Development Team Lead for CoffeeBot, and Jessica Madrazo, Operations Director of the same company, argue that the only way to achieve economic development is through the FOI Bill. They say that unless this bill gets a nod from Congress, the economy will continue to lag.
Sta. Romana said that the FOI Bill will usher in a more transparent business atmosphere in the country.“Without a doubt, Filipinos are natural entrepreneurs. They want to build businesses and help the economy. But we’re not given enough access to information on how to do this. We’re not given access to people who can help. The passage of the FOI bill will bring more than just transparency and integrity to the political process. It’ll give Filipinos the power to shape their own future,” she said.
Jessica Madrazo is even more cutting in her observation, saying, “Startups are made up of young individuals who are active on almost all social media platforms. Their involvement in the issue and taking a strong stand sends out the message to Congress that we want and need this bill passed.”
The People’s Freedom of Information (FOI) Act would give the public the right to access of information and disclosure of public documents. The act also outlines the exceptions of such a disclosure and the procedures of accessing such documents. It particularly helpful to the business sector because it provides businesses with useful information such as contracts, decisions, procurement criteria and even competitor profiles.
The forum, which was attended by youth leaders and civic organizers, discussed the inherent effect of the passing of the FOI Bill to the economic agenda of the nation, as it aims to:
1. create openness and political transparency
2. pertinent information accessible to all walks of life
3. more honest and comprehensive business dealing in the process
4. integrity in every work done
5. minimizes the creation of oversight bodies and penalties
“To delay the FOI bill further isn’t just selfish, it’s economic suicide. If we want lasting progress for Filipinos, everyone, including the local businesses, should support for the passage of this bill,” Sta. Romana said.
“Startups should support this bill because as small businesses in a new industry, projects are constantly being proposed and created that should benefit us. We need to know that it’s actually happening and it is implemented right,” Madrazo said, corroborating that of Sta. Romana’s.
The bill has been approved on the committee level for both the Senate and the Lower House, and is currently awaiting its session in the plenary.
(This article was originally posted in PRLog.org)