Anti-RH lawmakers not swayed by substitute RH bill-A A +A
Thursday, October 25, 2012
LAWMAKERS opposed to the reproductive health (RH) bill vowed to continue blocking the approval of the controversial measure despite the already "watered down" version of the bill.
Manila Representative Amado Bagatsing said instead of an RH law, the state should just allocate more funds to the Department of Health (DOH).
"I personally feel that the RH bill should not be passed. Just fund DOH. Anyway, several LGUs (local government units) are already providing contraceptives," he said in a text message.
Buhay party-list Representative Irwin Tieng, for his part, said funds eyed to be allocated for the implementation of the RH law should be used for education.
"We will oppose it if it will involve billions again," Tieng said.
The main proponent of the RH bill, Albay Representative Edcel Lagman, earlier said in a television interview that the substitute version of the RH bill needs P3 billion to be implemented.
Before Congress went on a two-week break, the House leadership distributed to its members a copy of the substitute bill to House Bill 4244 or the RH bill, hoping it could persuade critics to vote in favor of its enactment.
Agham party-list Representative Angelo Palmones, one of the authors of HB 4244, earlier admitted that several pro-RH legislators were dismayed with the substitute bill.
"It appears to be a CBCP version," he said.
Reports said the anti-RH bloc led by Deputy Speaker Pablo Garcia will block the discussion of the substitute RH bill once sessions resume on November 5. The Garcia-led bloc said the substitute RH bill should be sent back to the committee if the House leadership decides to push through with it.
Deputy Minority Leader Danilo Suarez, for his part, said majority of the provisions in the RH bill are already provided in Republic Act 9710, or the Magna Carta of Women.
Under the substitute bill, the government shall provide public access to "medically safe, legal, accessible, affordable and effective" reproductive health care services and supplies "which do not prevent implantation of a fertilized ovum" as determined by the Food and Drug Administration.
The substitute bill also states that the government shall prioritize the needs of marginalized households.
Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat Jr. said the Magna Carta of Women is not enough because mothers continue to die giving birth.
"We need RH so that state procurement of contraceptives will be mandated and yearly allocations will be institutionalized in the budget," he added. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)