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Cayetano pushes for immediate passage of FOI bill – an empowerment tool to make every Filipino a graft buster

“The Best Christmas gift we can give to Filipinos is the passage of the FOI!”

By Office of Sen. Alan Peter S. Cayetano
December 5, 2012

“…a World Bank study is much quoted has having found that for everyone peso that the government collects, 40 centavos goes to corruption.”

PASAY CITY  –  Senate minority leader Alan Peter Cayetano called on the government to enact the Freedom of Information (FOI) in order to help President Aquino curb graft and corruption in the country.

Sen. Alan Peter S. CayetanoHe made the appeal in his sponsorship speech for Senate Bill 3208 last Tuesday.

He said the FOI would help remove the power of government information from a few and give it to the public and help eliminating monopolies in the market, anomalies in the construction of infrastructure, and other similar activities that take away the ordinary Filipino’s ability to earn his living.

“By enacting the Freedom of Information Act, we help empower our people to find the solution to these problems and to finally create the change that will make a difference in their lives. It provides the mechanism to disperse power among the people. As such, each and every Filipino can become a graft buster,” he said.

The senator stressed that in a time when PiTiK – Mataas na Presyo, Kawalan o Kakulangan ng Trabaho at Kulang o Maliit na Kita – is plaguing our country, the FOI is needed more than ever.

“We have been paying a high price for the absence of the FOI bill. In fact, a World Bank study is much quoted has having found that for everyone peso that the government collects, 40 centavos goes to corruption. Also, the Department of Finance and Annual pegged its tax leakage P240 billion. That’s money lost instead of used to help uplift the lives of Filipinos,” he said.

He explained that in a time when information is power, it becomes the government’s responsibility to empower its citizenry and enable them to take an active part in fortifying this country’s defenses against graft and corruption through the passage of the FOI bill.

“Democracy is all about people making decisions. Through the enactment of the FOI bill, every Filipino can be true partners of the government in establishing a system that is truly clean, bent to serve and is accountable to the public it serves,” he said.

While Cayetano expressed his belief in the President’s vision of “tuwid na daan”, he stressed that without an FOI bill in place the country has no concrete means to exact accountability from the government.

“An open, accountable and transparent leadership helps regain the trust of the people on their government. We have to build on that trust, Mr. President. Let’s certify this as urgent and push for the passage of the FOI bill now,” he said.