ASoG dissects Freedom of Information bill

December 27, 2014

The Ateneo School of Government (ASoG), in collaboration with Asia Society, organized a roundtable discussion entitled “Making Government Accountable through FOI (Freedom of Information): Evidence from Abroad” on December 2, 2014 at the ASoG premises in Loyola Heights.

Shri Yashovardhan Azad, Information Commissioner of India’s Central Information Commission, shared India’s experience on information transparency.

“In India, the Right to Information Act (RTI) is committed to achieving a true transparent system. The Act is widely acclaimed because it exposes corruption,” Azad said.  An Indian NGO, the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, was instrumental in the enactment of the RTI. The group lobbied for information to underscore the plight of daily wage earners.

“Knowledge is power and this power comes from information. Information is a public resource and any public resource of the country has to be accountable to the public,” Azad said. 

Shri Yashovardhan Azad explains that the concept of citizenship paved the way for the passing of India’s RTI in 2005. In public governance, he adds, “citizens have the most important role.”

Dir. Joy Aceron, Senior Knowledge Leader in Politics Cluster of ASoG, provides an overview of the status of the proposed FOI bill in the Philippines. The clamor for access to information, she shares, is due to the country’s political system of democracy

Ateneo students, faculty and staff listen to Mr. Azad as he explains India’s journey towards the passing of RTI. He encourages the students and citizens to continue seeking information.

ASoG’s Associate Dean Dr. Mario Villaverde and Dr. Mary Jean Caleda, Associate  Dean for Research and Governance Practice, join the roundtable discussion.

The roundtable discussion is part of ASoG’s “Ako, Ikaw, Tayo. May Pananagutan” series of activities, aimed at raising awareness on the importance of accountability in governance.