LET’S HEAR it from the youth and students.

In a joint statement, leaders of 68 student councils and youth organizations across the nation urged the members of the House of Representatives to pass the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill before the 15th Congress takes another long recess on Feb. 8, 2013.

“FOI is our issue, too,” said Carlo Brolagda, co-convenor of the FOI Youth Initiative (FYI) and chairperson of the student council of University of the Philippines College of Social Sciences and Philosophy.

“We young people, who will eventually inherit this government, want institutionalized mechanisms for transparency and accountability of public officials and offices,” he said.

“Let our generation be defined not just by the laws passed during our youth, but more so by the actions that we have undertaken to ensure that they are enacted.”

The FOI Youth Initiative (FYI), called on Congress to “cement its reputation as the House of the People that has successfully enacted relevant progressive legislation for the rights and welfare of Filipinos.”

A member of the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition, FYI said lawmakers should keep the momentum for reform laws going. “Failing to pass the FOI Bill would make the House fall short of fully gaining the trust of the people in its winning streak of passing long-awaited laws,” FYI said.

Citing that the Senate has done its part by finally approving the FOI bill on third and final reading last December, Brolagda said, “we believe that it isn’t too much to ask for the House to do the same before the 15th Congress ends and before many of its members go on campaign mode for the elections.”

“Aside from possible problems in House members’ attendance, we also have to deal with legislators who are adamant in having an anti-press freedom Right of Reply provision in the bill,” Brolagda said. “Some are misled into thinking that the FOI Law will only cater to the media. They are completely mistaken because this measure will benefit all citizens.”

Meanwhile, FYI co-convenor Chris Alquizalas, councilor of the UP College of Social Science and Philosophy student council, called on his fellow young leaders to help in lobbying for the bill by engaging their Representatives in Congress.

“We have to make them realize that FOI is our issue, too. We young people, who will eventually inherit this government, want institutionalized mechanisms for transparency and accountability of public officials and offices,” said Alquizalas.

“Let our generation be defined not just by the laws passed during our youth, but more so by the actions that we have undertaken to ensure that they are enacted.”

The FYI said it supports the call of the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition for President Aquino and the House leadership to certify the FOI Bill as urgent. The group promised to be watchful of the proceedings in the House as it winds down towards adjournment before the 2013 elections.

The FOI Youth Initiative is composed of the following student councils and youth organizations:

• College of Social Sciences and Philosophy Student Council (CSSPSC), University of the Philippines – Diliman
• BUKLOD CSSP, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of the Philippines – Diliman
• Movement of Students for Progressive Leadership in UP (MOVE UP), University of the Philippines – Los Baños
• UP Alyansa ng mga Mag-aaral para sa Panlipunang Katwiran at Kaunlaran (UP ALYANSA), University of the Philippines – Diliman
• Bukluran ng mga Progresibong Iskolar – UP System (BUKLURAN – UP SYSTEM), University of the Philippines System
• Linking Everyone Towards Service CDC (LETS CDC), College of Development Communication, University of the Philippines – Los Baños
• Katipunan CHE, College of Human Ecology, University of the Philippines – Los Baños
• Sandigan ng mga Iskolar para sa Nagkakaisang CAS (SINAG CAS), College of Arts and Sciences, University of the Philippines – Los Baños
• Alternatibong Katipunan ng mga Mag-aaral (AKMA), University of the Philippines – Baguio
• Bigkis ng mga Iskolar Para sa Bayan Tungo sa Makabuluhang Pagbabago – UPM (BIGKIS-UPM), University of the Philippines – Manila
• UP Organization of Human Rights Advocates (OHRA), University of the Philippines – Diliman
• Coalition for Students’ Rights and Welfare (STRAW Coalition)
• Bagong Benilde, De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde
• Metro Manila Alliance of Communication Students (MACS)
• Akbayan Youth
• Alliance of Progressive Labor – Youth (APL Youth)
• Laban COC Party, College of Communication, Polytechnic University of the Philippines
• UP Economics Towards Consciousness (ETC), University of the Philippines – Diliman
• Sanggunian ng mga Paaralang Loyola ng Ateneo de Manila, Ateneo de Manila University
• Alliance of Student Leaders (ASL), Ateneo de Manila University
• Law Student Government (LSG), College of Law, University of the Philippines – Diliman
• AngKAS (CSSP History Department Core Group), University of the Philippines – Diliman
• Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP)
• UP Alliance for Responsive Involvement and Student Empowerment (ARISE), College of Engineering, University of the Philippines – Diliman
• Center for Youth Advocacy and Networking (CYAN)
• UP Kalipunan ng mga Mag-aaral ng Sosyolohiya (KMS), University of the Philippines – Diliman
• College of Allied Medical Professions Student Council (CAMPSC), University of the Philippines – Manila
• University Student Council (UPM USC), University of the Philippines – Manila
• UP Kabataang Pilosopo Tasyo (KaPiTas), University of the Philippines – Diliman
• UP Kalipunan para sa Agham Panlipunan at Pilosopiyang Pilipino (UP KAPPP), University of the Philippines – Diliman
• UP Bukluran sa Sikolohiyang Pilipino (Buklod-Isip), University of the Philippines – Diliman
• UP Lipunang Pangkasaysayan (LIKAS), University of the Philippines – Diliman
• College of Education Student Council (CESC), University of the Philippines – Diliman
• Union of Progressive Students (UPS), University of the Philippines – Cebu
• People United to Lead, Obey, and Serve (PULOS), University of the Philippines – Mindanao
• Kabataang Liberal
• UP People-Oriented Leadership in the Interest of Community Awareness (UP POLITICA), University of the Philippines – Diliman
• UP Sirkulo ng mga Kabataang Artista (SIKAT), University of the Philippines – Diliman
• University Student Council (UPD USC), University of the Philippines – Diliman
• Cor Jesu Association of Graduate Students (CJAGS), Cor Jesu College, Digos City, Davao del Sur
• Barkadahang San Joseño, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan
• Youth Against Debt (YAD) Eastern Visayas
• Animal Concerns and Awareness Club (AC2), University of the Philippines – Visayas Tacloban College
• School of Business and Management Student Council (SBMSC), Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan, Cagayan de Oro City
• Children International – Child Sponsorship for Community Development Inc. (CSCDI), Tabaco City, Albay
• REPUBLICA Socio-Political Party (UA&P REPUBLICA), University of Asia and the Pacific
• Partido sang Mainuswagon nga Bumulutho (PMB), University of the Philippines – Visayas, Miagao, Iloilo
• Council of Maritime Leaders (CML), University of Cebu – Maritime Education and Training Center, Cebu City
• UST Political Science Forum (UST-TPSF), University of Santo Tomas – Manila
• College of Communication Student Council (COC-SC), Polytechnic University of the Philippines
• School of Business and Management (SBM) – Business Economics Society (BES), Universidad de Zamboanga, Zamboanga City
• Supreme Student Government – Northern Cebu Colleges, Bogo City, Cebu
• Team Communication (TeamComm), De La Salle University – Manila
• SENTRO – La Salle, De La Salle University – Dasmariñas
• Samahan ng mga Mag-aaral para sa Alternatibong Reporma at Pagbabago (SAMAR Party), University of Eastern Philippines, Northern Samar
• UEP Office of the Student Regent, University of Eastern Philippines, Northern Samar
• STI Student Council, STI College – Southwoods, Carmona, Cavite
• UP Sigma Beta Sorority, University of the Philippines – Diliman
• University Student Government (DLSU USG), De La Salle University – Manila
• Youth Aids Filipinas Alliance (YAFA), University of the Philippines – Visayas Tacloban College
• Vox La Salle Debate Society, De La Salle University – Dasmariñas
• TLF – Sexuality, Health, and Rights Educators (TLF-SHARE) Collective, Inc.
• National Alliance of Liberal Student Formations (NALSF)
• KILOS! – PUP, Polytechnic University of the Philippines – Manila
• Filipino Liberal Youth – PUP, Polytechnic University of the Philippines – Manila
• Alyansang Tapat sa Lasallista (TAPAT), De La Salle University – Manila
• School of Economics Student Council (SESC), University of the Philippines – Diliman
* Angat Kabataan, Taytay, Rizal

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