Thursday, 07 June 2012 10:43
The Senate is expected to vote on the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) Bill in August after the period of interpellations on Senate Bill 2865 or the proposed ‘Reproductive Health Act’ that ended Tuesday night.
”I’m happy and relieved that after almost a year of defending the RH Bill, we have finally terminated the period of interpellation,” said Senator Pia Cayetano. “I’m now looking forward to starting the period of amendments.”
Cayetano, chairperson of the Senate committees on health and demography and on youth, women and family, and Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago have co-authored the bill which has been pending for decades in Congress.
Santiago foresees approval of the bill after some of the senators, who had strongly opposed the bill, “now seemed to have softened their stand.”
”Senator Pia and I are filled with very high hopes that we can have it passed by August or before the end of the year. I have predicted that we may have to pass it after the SONA (state of the nation address). That is our best hope,” Santiago said.
Santiago said she is hoping to finish the period of interpellations before the sine die adjournment of the second regular session of the 15th Congress on June 7.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said the Senate has already ran out of time to vote on the RH bill.
”That will be decided when we resume in August,” Enrile said.
Enrile, a known critic of the bill, withdrew his intent to resume his interpellation on Tuesday, prompting Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III to move to terminate the period of interpellation.
Cayetano delivered her sponsorship speech on the RH Bill nearly a year ago on June 7, 2011. Since then, a total of nine senators had taken the floor to interpellate the lady sponsors.
“There have been a lot of points raised by my colleagues that we will be able to use to improve the bill, and I would like to thank them for sharing their inputs and concerns with me,” Cayetano pointed out. “I certainly hope that in that whole year that we’ve spent debating on the bill, my co-sponsor (Defensor-Santiago) and I have also been able to enlighten some of them on their questions and concerns.”
Cayetano continued: “I’d like to reassure everyone that we’ll continue to work hard on this measure with the end in view of passing an RH Bill at the soonest possible time while also taking into consideration the valid points raised by some of our colleagues.”
The RH bill is one of the priority measures of the Aquino administration.
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