Senate Ends Debate on Reproductive Health Bill
By By Shielo Mendoza | Yahoo! Southeast Asia Newsroom
Wed, Jun 6, 2012
After nearly a year of debates in the plenary, the Senate has ended the period of interpellations on the controversial Reproductive Health Bill on Tuesday.
“We were very patient, and we always retreated to allow more and more interpellations. So I think we have exhausted the Senate as far as questions are concerned,” said Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, one of the sponsors of the bill.
Since Senator Pia Cayetano delivered her sponsorship speech on the RH Bill in June last year, nine senators had taken the floor to interpellate the co-sponsors Cayetano and Santiago.
“I certainly hope that in that whole year that we’ve spent debating on the bill, my co-sponsor and I have been able to enlighten some of them on their questions and concerns,” Cayetano said.
After the period of interpellations, the RH Bill now moves to the period of amendments where senators will propose changes to the provisions of the bill.
Santiago said she thinks the amendments will be about the government subsidy in dispensing the contraceptive medication.
“With respect to the amendments, we are ready with an open mind to accept those that might become necessary because politics is the art of compromise, as long as they don’t compromise the basic principles of the RH Bill,” she said.
After the amendments, the bill will be up for voting on the second, and third and final reading.
Santiago said she is positive that it will get the required number of votes especially after the impeachment trial.
“I think after the impeachment trial some of the senators that were strongly opposed to the RH Bill, now seemed to have softened their stand.
“I think that after all the violent argumentation during the impeachment trial, the senators are feeling much more conciliatory with each other, and hoped to move from their original positions to a more closer and harmonious relationship with the sponsors of the RH bill,” she said.
Santiago added that she hopes the Senate will approve the bill by August when the sessions resume.
“We will be very relieved if that happens because the RH Bill has been pending for decades in Congress. I think the general benefits will outweigh the doubts if they are still lingering in the minds of people who have been influenced with the theology and members of the religious,” she said.
Source: Yahoo Philippines News