Time running out on RH bill—House majority leaderBy Gil C. Cabacungan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
A House leader on Tuesday declared that the reproductive health (RH) bill which a lot of people expected to be passed under the current 15th Congress has little or no chance of being ratified.
House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II said the reproductive health bill has been stalled by the refusal of its opponents to end the plenary debate.
“The hole which the RH has to pass through is getting smaller. Realistically, it is tougher and the time is getting shorter to approve it in the House. (Congress) will only work up to December with the elections coming,” said Gonzales.
Gonzales said the best that the House can do is for the Speaker to call a general caucus where members would vote whether they wanted to continue with the debate or not.
“It will indicate whether they want to continue or not. If they want to stop the debate, then we have to go to the more difficult process of amendment,” said Gonzales who cited the pointlessness of debating the issue for the last one and a half years. “This is better than making a fool of ourselves and giving the people false hopes. We should set it aside and devote our time to other bills of equal importance,” he said.
While the position of the Senate, which ended debates on the said measure earlier, may have changed, Gonzales said that this cannot be said for lawmakers opposing the controversial measure on their turf.
“But at the end of the day, we owe it to the people to continue with the debate and voting,” the lawmaker said, pointing out that even if the bill survives the period of debates “voting is a harder hurdle.”
Gonzales said that any discussions on RH should be made during the last few days of this month or before Budget Secretary Florencio Abad Jr. submits the 2013 budget.
“Like last year, we’ll devote the entire August at the committee level for the budget, and we’ll start with the plenary debate of the budget by September,” said Gonzales. With a report from Karen Boncocan, INQUIRER.net
Originally posted: 4:28 pm | Tuesday, July 17th, 2012