Congress last session opened; Vote on RH bill urged-A A +A
Monday, July 23, 2012
MANILA (2nd Update, 11:20 a.m.) -- House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte urged his colleagues in the opening of the last session of the present 15th Congress Monday to “finally” put the Reproductive Health (RH) bill to a vote.
“I think it’s time that we finally put it to a vote. Let the chips fall where they may,” he said.
The third regular session of the 15th Congress opened 10 a.m., hours before President Benigno Aquino III delivers his third State of the Nation Address (Sona).
The RH bill is still pending for second reading approval at the House of Representatives.
Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II earlier suggested that the House leadership convene a caucus where members can set a definite schedule on the voting -- at least -- of the termination of plenary debates on the RH bill.
According to its sponsors, the proposed law will help resolve the lack of access to reproductive health and family planning education and services among women, especially the poor.
At the Senate, the status of the controversial bill is heading for approval on second reading after the chamber ended the debates in early June.
“In the next couple of days, or months perhaps, I also foresee discussion on measures that have been cause for intense debate. The RH bill is one of these rare measures in the Senate that has been a magnet of philosophical musings and emotional sentiments from various sectors,” Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile said during the opening of the last session of the present Congress.
Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, one of the sponsors of the bill aside from Senator Pia Cayetano, was on sick leave when Enrile made the announcement. Santiago is reportedly suffering from colds. (Kathrina Alvarez/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)