The Philippines, a bastion of democracy like India, the former has a lot to learn from the latter of their experience in empowering the poor.
India being the largest democracy in the world has vast lapses of its own in effecting good governance because of bureaucratic red tape where “The feeling in government has always been that the people working in government are the rulers and the people are the ruled,” stressed Wajahat Habibullah, the Indian Central Government’s Information Commissioner.
Such observation and attitude of the people in government is quite true and to some extent it is predominant in developing economies like the Philippines.
With the aim of obliging the Indian government by their citizens for accountability, a powerful and popular Right To Information Law is sweeping across India. By empowering India’s 1.2 billion citizens, granting them the right to demand almost any information from the government.
Previously, Indian citizens had few means to know what their government is doing for them. The right to information law has given the poor a tool to help ensure they get what they are due. ” This law has given the people the feeling that the government is accountable to them.”
The law is backed by stiff fines for people in government who withhold information, a penalty imposed to ensure speedy compliance of the law.
The right to information law was passed after more than a decade of no let up campaign by good government activists.
With the law, it had a major effect in combating graft and corruption and it is a good deterrence to future scalawags in government.