Press Release
December 6, 2011

Cayetano: 'The country needs an FOI law'
Philippines ranks 129th out of 182 countries in new Corruption Perceptions Index

Senate minority leader Alan Peter Cayetano urged the Aquino administration and members of Congress to pass the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill to improve the Philippines' ranking in the global corruption index where the country is still at the bottom line and lags behind Southeast Asian neighbors.

"It is about time that government assures its people that their 'right to know' will not be hindered by the absence of enabling laws such as the FOI", he said.

The principal author of the FOI bill passed in the Senate but was not voted upon in the Lower House during the 14th Congress, lamented that "the legislative measure that seeks transparency and accountability in governance has been pending in the last ten years because some officials are still trapped in their 'paranoia' on issues such as breach of privacy."

"If the Aquino administration is sincere in pushing the fight against corruption, it should prioritize passage of enabling laws that will guarantee transparency and accountability in all government transactions and access of public to crucial projects," said Cayetano.

The minority leader cited the results of the Transparency International 2011 survey on the Corruption Perceptions Index that ranked the Philippines as the 129th out of 182 countries most corrupt, making it the most corrupt in Southeast Asian region, next to Cambodia that was ranked 164th in the survey.

Cayetano pointed out that the global organization cited the Philippines' failure to pass the Freedom of Information bill as one of the reasons why corruption is still rampant in the country.

The group also urged the Aquino administration to push for the passage of crucial legislative measures like the Whistleblowers Protection Law and the effective implementation of the Anti red Tape Act.

The minority leader reiterated his view that the government needs to implement concrete efforts to address corruption by legislative measures aside from seriously pursuing corruption cases against former president and now Pampanga rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and other individuals accountable for anomalies in the past.

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