THE URBAN poor evicted from their homes. The workers who were suddenly retrenched. The farmers who lost their land to a politician’s real estate firm. The indigenous peoples who were displaced by big mining projects. Journalists who were unable to pursue a big story after being denied access to supposedly public documents. And taxpayers who suspect that their money was being frittered away to corruption.
FARMER Jose Rodito Angeles did not know that he had a right to own the land he has been tilling for ages until someone from a non-government organization told him about the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). At that time in 2001, CARP has been running for 13 years but it took four more years for Angeles, 59, of La Castellana, Negros Occidental to secure the necessary documents to affirm his lawful claim on his land.
TODAY starts a series of mass actions by journalists, workers, students, professionals, business and church leaders, and civil-society groups in their vigorous final push for Congress to ratify the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. But the world waits and watches, too. More than just a Philippine story, the 14-year advocacy of Filipinos for Congress to enact the law has become a serious concern of freedom of information advocates, scholars and members of parliament across the globe.