MANILA, Philippines — The bicameral conference committee convened on Wednesday to iron out differences in the controversial Reproductive Health bill.
The bicameral meeting at the Century Seafood Restaurant in Manila was closed to the media.
Present at the meeting that started a little past 9 a.m. were Senators Pia Cayetano, head of the Senate panel, Teofisto Guingona III, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Ralph Recto, Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III.
Present from the House of Representatives were Albay Representative Edcel Lagman, Batanes Representative Henedina Abad, Quezon Representative Danilo Suarez, Iloilo Representative Janette Garin, among others.
Cayetano expressed hope that the bicam report on the bill would be ratified this Wednesday, the last day of session before Congress goes on a Christmas break.
“That would be ideal,” she told reporters before the meeting.
Cayetano identified at least three contentious issues of the bill: the role of the local and national governments, access of minors to Reproductive Health services, and the mandatory RH education in schools.
“Everything else is style,” she pointed out.
Once the bicameral committee agreed on the differences, both panels of the House and the Senate will return to their respective chambers to ratify the bill.
Once ratified, the bill will then be transmitted to President Benigno Aquino III for signature.
Originally posted at 09:53 am | Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012