Monday, June 24, 2024

House sets limits in release of personal info in draft FOI bill

The House committee on public information chaired by ACT Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio L. Tinio recently presented the Freedom of Information (FOI) draft substitute bill, which is a consolidation of 33 bills, one resolution, and one privilege speech.

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The panel?s technical working group (TWG) worked for two months to draft the FOI substitute bill. The substitute bill was initially presented by the committee during a hearing held prior to the holiday break for comments and discussions on the various sections of the measure.

Tinio said the TWG also took into consideration Executive Order No. 2 signed by President Duterte last July 23, 2016. The EO operationalized in the executive branch the people?s constitutional right to information and the State policies to full public disclosure and transparency.

Bukidnon Rep. Manuel F. Zubiri said once enacted into law, the FOI bill could be an effective deterrent to corruption as public disclosure of all government transactions involving public interest will be mandatory, hence all public officials and employees should be covered.

The panel perused the substitute bill provision by provision and gave the committee members and gave invited resource persons from concerned agencies and people?s organizations the chance to air their comments and suggestions.

Among those present were representatives from the National Privacy Commission (NPC), National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of National Defense, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the media represented by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkasters ng Pilipinas (KBP), and the civic organization Right to Know Right Now Coalition (RTKRN Coalition).

NPC commissioner Raymond Liboro gave proposals on how to make the bill attuned to the provisions of Republic Act 10173, or the Data Privacy Act of 2012.

He said one of these is the classification of personal information as ?personal data? that will encompass all sensitive personal information of individuals which are exempted from the bill?s coverage. Such information includes names of family members, especially minors, which appear on individual statements of assets and liabilities (SALN).

Liboro said the information that should be disclosed and made accessible to the public should be related to the position and execution of official function of an individual as a government official/employee.

The committee members decided to continue the deliberations after the holiday break.

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