Quantcast
Latest Stories

Senate, House approve RH bill on final reading

By

Supporters of the Reproductive Health Bill cheer its passage at the House of Representatives through a vote of 133-79 Monday evening. VIDEO/ MATIKAS SANTOS

MANILA, Philippines – Both chambers of Congress passed on third and final reading Monday night the Reproductive Health Bill that would provide government funding for contraceptives and sexuality classes in schools.

The landmark measure was approved despite strong opposition by the Catholic Church, which said the measure would destroy family life.

Voting 13-8 with no abstention, the Senate passed the RH bill on third and final reading.

At the House of Representatives, lawmakers voted 133 to 79 with seven abstention to approve its version of the measure. There were 199 legislators present during the voting.

The 13 senators who voted in favor of the bill were:  Edgardo Angara, Joker Arroyo, Alan Peter Cayetano, Pia Cayetano,  Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Franklin Drilon, Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Teofisto Guingona III, Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, Loren Legarda, Ferdinand “Bong-Bong” Marcos Jr., Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan and Ralph Recto.

The eight who voted against it were:  Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile,  Senate Pro Tempore Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada,   Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III,  Senators Gringo Honasan,  Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III,  Manuel “Manny” Villar, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., and  Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV.

Senators Serge Osmena III and  Lito  Lapid were  absent during the voting.

Arroyo said he voted  yes “conditionally” as he  threatened to change his  vote if the amendments   by the Senate will not be retained in the bicameral conference committee.

AP PHOTO

He noted that the original versions of the Senate and the House of Representatives  were “onerous’ and “so provocative” that  one, he said,  could not expect the Catholic Church   to surrender its doctrinal and moral position on such a life and death issue without putting up a fight.

The bill without amendments, Arroyo said, was “vulnerable to constitutional challenge especially on religious  grounds.”

“The Court  may strike down even the good provisions along with the bad,”  he said.

And to address those weaknesses,  Arroyo said the Senate  introduced reasonable amendments to make sure the measure ‘less dogmatic, less provocative and more constitutionally accepted.”

“Many of these amendments were mislabelled as killer amendments. I can see none that  are,” he said.

“I hope they will be respected in the bicameral conference committee rather than dismissed out of hand for I shall change my vote I cast today should that happen. I vote yes, conditionally,” Arroyo added.

Meanwhile, Bishop Gabriel Reyes told reporters in an ambush interview after the voting that he observed some representatives who previously voted against the bill had changed their vote.

“Some [lawmakers] whom I know had gone to the other side,” Reyes said. Others had simply not attended, he said.

He alleged that there was pressure from Malacañang on lawmakers by threatening to hold their pork barrel if they vote against the bill.

Reyes also said that they are planning to file a case before the Supreme Court to question the bill on the grounds that it violates religious freedom.

He also said that they will continue to educate the people on the evils of the RH bill and urge them to reject contraceptives even if these are given free.

The bill languished in Congress for 10 years as legislators avoided upsetting the conservative bishops, who helped mobilize popular support for the 1986 “people power” revolt that toppled dictator Ferdinand Marcos and the 2001 overthrow of another president, Joseph Estrada.

But in a sign of changing times and attitudes, particularly across generations, reformist civil society groups and Aquino threw their weight behind the bill despite the threat of a backlash.

An independent survey in June last year found 68 percent of respondents agreed that the government should fund all means of family planning. An October survey of 600 teenagers in Manila, the capital, also carried out by the Social Weather Stations, found that 87 percent believed the government should provide reproductive health services to the poor.

The United Nations said early this year that the bill would help reduce an alarming number of pregnancy-related deaths, prevent life-threatening abortions and slow the spread of AIDS.

The UN Population Fund says 3.4 million pregnancies occur in the Philippines every year, half of which are unintended while a third are aborted, often in clandestine, unsafe and unsanitary procedures. It says 11 women die of pregnancy-related causes every day. Nearly 70 percent of women use no contraception at all.

Reproductive health programs are patchy and often unavailable to the poor. Some local governments have passed ordinances banning the sale of condoms and their distribution in health clinics.

“Many Filipino women have faced difficulties and sometimes death because of the absence of a comprehensive and consistent reproductive health policy. This law can change that,” said Carlos Conde, Asia researcher at New York-based Human Rights Watch.

After initially approving the bill last week 113-104 with three abstentions, the House of Representatives was expected to vote in favor of it Monday. The Senate was to separately vote on it Monday, after which the two versions were to later be reconciled and signed by Aquino.

House Deputy Speaker Eric Tanada said that 60 more lawmakers who were absent last week were expected to vote, but that he believed the measure would pass. With a report from AP


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Other Stories:

No related posts found!


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Nation , News , RH bill




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Gigi Reyes back to face charges
  2. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  3. In the know: Gigi Reyes
  4. SC suspends proctor in 2011 bar exams
  5. Senator Pimentel backs German think tank’s stand vs dynasties
  6. Bar proctor suspended for photographing test papers
  7. Collector Danny Garcia says Inquirer worth more than news
  8. Meteor shower to light up PH skies
  9. What Went Before: Enrile denies Gigi Reyes was ‘other woman’
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  5. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  6. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  7. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  8. Massive infra spending set
  9. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  10. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
Advertisement

News

  • $57-B mega plan to solve Metro’s mega woes
  • Aquino vows to step up fight against corruption
  • Santiago scoffs at rushing defense pact for Obama visit
  • Former solon, 2 others sanctioned for unfair labor practice
  • Let us pray for the nation, healing priest asks leaders
  • Sports

  • PH pug Hipolito Banal decisions Colombian in Aiba
  • Former Pacquiao sparmate Porter keeps IBF title
  • Grueling 2014 Le Tour de Filipinas hits road
  • ICTSI Tour big hitters have edge at Sherwood
  • What Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather could do
  • Lifestyle

  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Korean animation comes of age
  • Entertainment

  • Easter musings
  • Solenn in shorts
  • Unmerry mix of attention-calling moves on ‘Mini-Me’ TV tilts
  • Persistence pays off for The 1975
  • Special section in LA fest for Filipino films
  • Business

  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Bataan freeport investment pledges up 1,302%
  • Golden Week
  • Bourse to woo Cebu stock mart investors
  • Supper power
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • Search for Etihad passengers launched
  • Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • OFW died of Mers-CoV in Saudi Arabia, says family
  • Aquino, Obama to tackle US pivot to Asia during state visit
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement