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Philippine leader backs Freedom of Information

By The Associated Press

MANILA, Philippines (AP) ' Officials say Philippine President Benigno Aquino III now fully supports the passage of a proposed Freedom of Information bill after initially harboring concerns over possible abuse.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Wednesday that Aquino decided to back the bill's passage after his aides proposed safeguards against potential abuse while ensuring full government transparency.

Pro-democracy groups and media watchdogs have called for the bill's passage for years to guard against corruption and government abuses, but it has never been passed by Congress.

Rep. Ben Evardone, chairman of the committee dealing with the bill, said Aquino's support of the legislation could enable it to be passed this year.

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