RH bill’s House judgment day - August 7
The leadership of the House of Representatives on Wednesday set a date for their final determination on the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill - August 7.
The date was decided on after a caucus on Wednesday afternoon, attended by both advocates and critics of the measure.
“We have already set na August 7, at which time a motion to terminate the debate will be made. At least we gave both sides time to marshal their people,” House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II told reporters after the caucus.
He added that anti-RH bill lawmakers wanted to continue debates on the measure. But House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. was determined to push for a vote to terminate the period of interpellation.
“The mere fact that we have been debating this for more than one-and-a-half years, the mere fact that a House member is allowed to interpellate for more than three hours, by what stretch of the imagination can you say that this was railroaded?” Gonzales said.
The House majority leader said the vote on the RH bill two weeks from now “will be an indication of the stand of the members.”
Only until August
The RH bill, formally known as House Bill 4244, was identified by President Benigno Aquino III as priority legislation. It endorses the use of both natural and artificial modes of family planning.
The bill is being opposed by the Roman Catholic Church, which promotes only natural family planning methods.
Gonzales said that the House “realistically” has only until August to approve the bill. He said he expects House members to be busy with budget deliberations and preparations for the 2013 elections by September
“Ang sinasabi ko sa kanila, ang nakikita kong window is August. After August nito, mahihirapan na tayo,” he said.
During the start of the third regular session on Monday, Belmonte had asked his colleagues to put the RH bill to a vote as the measure has been thoroughly discussed at the plenary.
Last Monday, Aquino also told Congress during his third State of the Nation Address that “responsible parenthood” is the answer to some of the country’s education woes. This statement was met with loud applause from lawmakers who support the RH bill. — DVM, GMA News
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