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A CLEAR, working system – with specific procedures and dedicated staff personnel – triggers quick, correct, and complete action by some government agencies on access to information requests. But the absence of such a system in most other agencies, as well as the lack of fully defined rules and procedures that all agencies must observe in responding to requests, remain barriers to access.

THE Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) was purposely created by the 1987 Constitution to depoliticize and to open up to the citizens the screening of nominees and appointments to the judiciary. To achieve this, Associate Professor Dante B. Gatmaytan of the University of the Philippines College of Law says the JBC should have looked with favor at full transparency – in the conduct of its processes and in the handling of all its records – as both premise and armor of its grave mandate.

TIME and getting thrown into the other side of the fence can change one’s perspectives somewhat. Less than a year ago, Manuel L. Quezon III was a columnist and television analyst. Although he had worked earlier as a consultant for the presidential museum, there was no doubt where his heart lay when it came to the Freedom of Information Act.

WHEN THE 15th Congress opened last June, there seemed to be renewed energy toward passing the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, which had floundered in the legislature’s previous incarnation, just when transparency advocates had thought it was about to be ratified.

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