House to tackle RH Bill, Belmonte vowsBy Karen Boncocan
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives will tackle the controversial Reproductive Health Bill but as to whether the said measure will be approved could not be assured by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.
Speaking to reporters during a chance interview on Monday, he maintained that the RH Bill will be tackled by legislators as the House of Representatives is set to resume its third regular session within the day. “Yes, it will be discussed. I am still confident that we can go ahead with the amendments so we can have a definite bill.”
Before they went on a two-week recess for the filing of candidacies with the Commission on Elections last October 1 to 5, lawmakers against the RH Bill managed to delay the opening of the proposed measure to its period of amendments. And with the House of Representatives “virtually evenly divided so that the usual tactics applied to get a closure is not workable”, Belmonte said he was concerned that legislators have made their stand even when the measure was still changing.
“My concern here is that everybody is pro or against it when in fact the bill itself is in a state of flux; it’s still changing. Once we have a final version, hopefully, we will find the time to say yes or no to it; right now you are saying no or yes to something that is changing,” he said.
But even with his determination to have the RH Bill finally voted, Belmonte admitted that it was “very difficult to give assurance”.
Meanwhile, although it is still uncertain if a hearing can be scheduled for the other contentious measure–the Freedom of Information Bill–before Congress goes on yet another break in two weeks, Belmonte said he foresaw “it will pass through the committee.”
He said that a caucus was no longer needed and that the House leadership would discuss the bill with the committee.
Legislators are set to resume session at 4 p.m. Monday