Thursday, 06 January 2011 12:39
Senator Pia Cayetano vowed to push through with more public hearings this year on the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill even if the measure is not part of the priority legislative agenda of the current Senate leadership.
Cayetano, a member of the 3-person minority bloc in the Upper Chamber, chairs the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, which is overseeing public deliberations on Senate Bill No. 2378 authored by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
“There is a legislative process that must be observed and as Chair of the primary committee that is hearing the RH Bill, it is my duty to take the proposed measure through said process, whether or not it falls under the priorities of the current Senate majority,” she said in a press statement.
“We have already conducted our initial public hearing last year and we intend to set the succeeding hearings early this year,” Cayetano added, referring to the committee’s first public hearing held in October 2010.
During the hearings, resource persons from the so-called “pro-life” and “pro-choice” groups, as well as experts from the medical community, women’s groups, and key government agencies, were invited to air their side on the issue.
“There are many components of the RH bill, including the urgency to address the country’s high maternal death rate and the need to lay down a national policy on family planning,” she added. “The inputs of all stakeholders will be heard during said hearings.”
Cayetano said a “good number” of senators are either openly or discreetly supporting the measure.
“It is premature and pointless to start counting how many senators are for or against the bill when it hasn’t even reached the plenary yet.”
Aside from the RH bill, Cayetano said the health committee will continue its work on other important measures, including on proposals to expand the coverage and benefits of PhilHealth and monitoring government efforts to meet its public health targets under the UN Millennium Development Goals. (Abs-Cbn)
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