Business Groups Seek Proprietary Information to be Excluded from FOI Bill
At present, the House of Representatives is deliberating 19 bills that would allow citizens to request access to information regarding government transactions and operations.
On Saturday, June 12, a position paper was sent to Congress by business groups stating their support for the inclusion of documents from private entities that transact with government institutions where public funds are used.
However, the groups wish to exclude and maintain the privacy of proprietary information relating to “patents, formulation, packaging of products, intellectual property, production, testing methods, and the like,” as stated in their paper.
The groups stated, “The disclosure of such information could negatively affect commercial or business interests.”
The statement was signed by 20 groups, led by the Makati Business Club, Management Association of the Philippines, Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, and various foreign chambers such as the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc. and the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.
The groups expressed, “We fully commit to advocating for an FOI Act that will uphold integrity, accountability, and transparency of the government which at the same time, is protective of the rights of commercial undertakings or businesses as we believe this can pave the way for favorable economic development in the country.”
They added that the proposed FOI Bill should only cover information that businesses have voluntarily submitted in their government transactions.
Data on patents, formulation, packaging of products, intellectual property, production, and testing methods submitted by the private sector during the procurement process should be excluded.