A lawmaker sees a way to end the brouhaha over the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill now pending in Congress: Create a technical working group (TWG) of "moderates" and let the bishops join.
As if saying that solons have become emotionally involved in debates on the controversial measure, Parañaque City Rep. Roilo Golez urged his colleagues to take a step back.
"I appeal to all parties who have taken a hard-line position-- pro or anti--like the principal authors and oppositors, to voluntarily desist from participating in the TWG and let only the moderates participate..." Golez said in a statement.
"Hardliners by experience find it extremely difficult to compromise," Golez added, while admitting that he is an "anti-RH hardliner."
Golez in 2010 filed a bill called the "Protection of the Unborn Child Act of 2010" as an alternative to the RH bill.
The lawmaker noted however that the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) "should be part of the TWG."
House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte agreed, noting that this could be a "breakthrough on this impasse."
Feliciano also said the bill should be remoulded into a "poverty alleviation measure."
"After all, the fight against poverty is the bottom line of all our struggles today," Feliciano said.
However, the proposal does not seem to sit well with RH Bill advocates.
"If the Congress wants moderates, then perhaps the CBCP is not the right group to include," Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines chairperson Elizabeth Angsioco said in a phone interview.
"From day one, CBCP has been the most rabid anti-RH bill group, blocking the measure for over a decade now," she added.
Instead of bishops, women's groupos should be prioritized in the TWG, Angsioco said.
"It's sad that the bill is discussed mostly by men who will never get pregnant and who will never have an inkling of how hard it is to give birth year in and year out," she noted.
The proposal to form a technical working group could also be another delaying tactic, Angsioco said.
"It is not fair for women if the process will again be dragged down by the machanics in forming a TWG," she said.
Meanwhile, in a statement posted on its Website, the CBCP said it "unlikely for the bishops to participate in the proposed TWG."
"We haven’t received any invitation to be part of this TWG but as far as I know, we will not participate," Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family and Life.
He added anti-RH lawmakers would be in the best position to argue against the bill.
"It's up to the anti-RH lawmakers to get their wisdom in this new development in Congress," Castro said.
This, as he noted that the CBCP continues to "reject the RH bill in its entirety."
"Our position is that the RH bill is beyond redemption for any amendments," Castro said.
Reelectionist Antonio "Sonny" Trillanes IV became the last senator-elect to have his arms raised by poll officials after the May 13 elections.