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Hontiveros to prioritize health, equality bills in 2017

Senator vows to build on gains in promoting ‘progressive’ laws
/ 02:09 PM January 03, 2017

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday promised that she will prioritize the passage of health and equality bills this year.

The Akbayan senator said that together with her fellow senators, they will “build on the gains” that they made in the promotion of progressive laws last year.

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She seeks to push longer maternity leave, anti-discrimination, and anti-hospital deposit bills this 2017.

Hontiveros, who is also the chairperson of the Senate committee on women,  has called for longer maternity leave for women. She filed Senate Bill No. 215 or the Extended Maternity Leave Act, which seeks to push the current 60 days of maternity leave to 120 days, and 150 days for single mothers.

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She said that her committee is in the process of preparing its committee report on the different versions of the bill.

President Rodrigo Duterte has  expressed his agreement for longer maternity leave.

“I agree that you need a longer period of rest for maternity leave. Gusto ko nga isang taon eh (I even want it to last for a year),” he said.

Meanwhile, the Senate Bill No. 935 or the Anti-Discrimination Bill has already made its way to the plenary and is ready for second ruling. She filed the bill to penalize discrimination against sexual orientation and gender identity in schools and workplaces, and to offer members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community equal protection.

She also seeks to stop the practice of hospitals asking for advance payment before admitting patients, as part of her campaign promise. Hontiveros filed Senate Bill No. 216 or the Amendments to the Anti-Hospital Deposit Act to impose heavier penalties on hospitals that continue to violate the law.

“The anti-hospital deposit bill is part of my priority legislative bills this new year. We cannot allow the lives and health well-being of our people to be sacrificed any longer in the name of profit,” Hontiveros said.

She added that another hearing will be conducted on the issue, and that the bill will be submitted to the technical working group. A committee report is going to be released as soon as possible. CDG/rga

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TAGS: Akbayan, anti-discrimination bill, Anti-Hospital Deposit Act, Extended Maternity Leave Act, Laws, Risa Hontiveros
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