Statement of the EU-ASEAN FTA Campaign Network on the passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act
08 November 2012

The EU-ASEAN FTA Campaign network, an inter-regional campaign platform comprised of trade activists and social movements across Southeast Asia and Europe campaigning against unjust trade and investment agreements joins fellow advocates of freedom of information in the Philippines in its urgent call for the passage of the FOI bill in the 15th Congress.

Freedom of information is crucial in engendering a more transparent and participatory trade policy making process.  Over the years, trade campaigners in the Philippines have called for public disclosure of government’s negotiating position on trade agreements; whether done under the aegis of the multilateral World Trade Organization or under bilateral and regional arrangements. 

This assertion in favour of greater transparency, participation and accountability stem from our belief that the public has the right to know the contents of comprehensive economic agreements and that the different stakeholders and affected sectors should be given the space to articulate their views  and demands on agreements entered into by government.

The call for public disclosure resonates strongly once again as the government gears up new trade negotiation for a comprehensive and highly ambitious bilateral FTA this time with the European Union. Already, various groups have expressed serious concerns about the implications this proposed FTA would have on jobs and livelihoods, rights and access to natural resources, and public health.

We believe that a more transparent and participatory trade policy making process is important in order for trade policies to better reflect the national interest, are more responsive to people’s needs, provide for better protection of  people’s rights and welfare, and be a real tool for sustainable and equitable development.

We call on our legislators to take the first important step in democratizing trade policy making and trade negotiations in the Philippines by enacting the Freedom of Information Act now.#

Contact Person: Joseph Purugganan, Coordinator
Office: c/o Focus on the Global South. 19 Maginhawa St.,
UP Village, Diliman, Quzon City
Telephone: +6324331676, +639173874531
[email protected]