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Senate ratifies RH bill

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MANILA, Philippines –  The controversial  Reproductive  Health  is now just  a step away from becoming a law after the Senate  ratified  the measure on  Wednesday.

Eleven senators  adopted the  bicameral committee report  on   the  bill   while five senators reiterated  their  vote  against  it.

The 11 senators were Pia Cayetano,  Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, Joker Arroyo, Edgardo Angara, Franklin Drilon, Miriam Defensor Santiago, Teofisto Guingona III, Ferdinand “Bong-Bong” Marcos Jr., Loren Legarda, Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, and Sergio Osmena III.

Osmena was sick and could not vote on the bill when the Senate  voted on it on third and final reading last Monday.

The five who reiterated their ‘no vote’ were Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile,  Senate Pro Tempore  Jose “Jinggoy Estrada, Majority Leader  Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, and Senators  Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and  Gringo  Honasan.

It was  Senator  Pia Cayetano, head of the  Senate committee on health, and  on women , who reported  on the floor the  outcome of the bicameral meeting held hours before the ratification.

Cayetano said the  following salient  features of the measure were approved in the bicam:

  • Any person will be allowed access to Reproductive Health and  family planning services  except minors unless  they have the consent of their parents or guardians.  A minor , who is already a parent or one has had  a miscarriage, would also be allowed access to RH services.

  • All public healthcare facilities are mandated under the measure  to family planning method “without prejudice to   private healthcare facilities extending the same…”

  • The measure also required mandatory RH education  to  adolescents aged between  10 to 19 in all public school. The Department of Education will formulate the curriculum for public schools  also “without prejudice to private schools adopting the same.”

  • Local government units, under the measure, will be “encouraged to comply with their mandate to provide healthcare service…with funding and other kind of assistance from the national government.

  • The measure also made it clear that it would not promote nor condone abortion.

“And finally for the curiosity and the pleasure of the body, the term ‘safe and satisfying sex was retained and this  was further improved  and its now read ‘responsible, consensual, safe and satisfying sex,” Cayetano said.

No senator objected  when she moved to adopt the bicameral  report.

But Enrile stood up and reiterated his no vote on the bill.

“Consistent with my remarks when I voted on third reading on this bill, I will register a negative vote on the committee report,” he said.

Sotto, Estrada and   Pimentel also stood up and reiterated their “no vote” on the measure.

The House of Representatives is also expected to ratify the approved bicam report.

Once ratified by both chambers of Congress, the bill will now be transmitted to President Benigno Aquino  III for signature.


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Tags: House of Representatives , Legislation , Politics , RH bill , Senate




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