Congress ratifies RH bill, clearing final hurdle before PNoy signs it into law

The reproductive health (RH) bill is now one signature away from becoming law after both the Senate and House of Representatives ratified the controversial measure Wednesday night, just hours after the bicameral conference committee came up with a consolidated version of the controversial measure.

The Senate first ratified the bill shortly before 7 p.m. with 11 senators voting in favor of the report and five senators opposing it. An hour later, the House also ratified the bill by a voice vote, with House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. presiding over the session himself.

The Reproductive Health Bill as consolidated by the bicameral conference committee and sent to the House and Senate for ratification.


Related News: Post-RH politics


The ratification clears the final hurdle for the bill in Congress, and paves the way for its approval by President Benigno Aquino III, who had certified it last week as urgent.

The President had earlier identified the RH bill as one of his priority measures.

The proposed legislation seeks to improve public access to reproductive health services, including natural and artificial family planning options. It also promotes better maternal care, responsible parenthood, and youth education on sexual and reproductive health issues. The Catholic Church has staunchly opposed the bill.


Related News: Philippine president wants 5 kids if he gets married


The ratification came after the bicameral conference committee approved a unified bill consolidating the two versions of the Senate and House of Representatives earlier in the day.

It took just a few hours for lawmakers from both chambers of Congress to come up with a unified version of the Palace-backed measure.

The reconciled version retained the much debated phrase “safe and satisfying sex life” under the definition of reproductive health.

Among the important provisions passed by the bicameral committee are the requirement of parental consent from minors who are not yet married or are with children; mandatory reproductive health education for those aged 10 to 19 years old; and the responsibility of the national government to assist local government units in the distribution of RH services.


Related News: Philippine president accused of 'bribing' Congress
 

Not perfect, but better

"Despite the sometimes acrimonious debates, I am happy to note that there is no blood on the floor. We can come to terms with each other despite any differences that have existed," Belmonte said in a speech after the ratification.

Sen. Pia Cayetano, co-author and co-sponsor of the RH bill in the upper chamber, said she was thankful to the Senate and House panels for "working collectively to come up with a unified version of the RH bill.

"I defended the RH bill Senate version faithfully even though it was hard because of amendments I did not agree with. In the end, I believe we have an RH bill that is better than it was when it left each House. Not perfect, but better," she said.

At a press conference earlier in the day, RH bill co-authors House deputy majority leader and Iloilo Rep. Janet Garin and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman were also thankful for the passage of the measure.

Garin expressed gratitude to the lawmakers who were initially against the bill, but who eventually accommodated their wishes.

"Pinapasalamatan din namin sila sa kanilang pagtugon sa panawagan ng lahat...the common goal of everybody was to come up with a legislative measure that will really answer the need of the Philippines," she said.— DVM/YA/ELR, GMA News

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Pacquiao sees fist of God delivering win over Mayweather
    Pacquiao sees fist of God delivering win over Mayweather

    Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao is confident he can beat American arch-rival Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas on Saturday with the power of God, after abandoning a life he said was packed with sin condemning him to hell. Pacquiao is in top form both in mind and spirit after he traded his boozing, gambling and womanising ways for a devout life of prayer, his spiritual adviser, Jeric Soriano, told AFP in a recent Manila interview. Except the world got to him," Soriano said of Pacquiao's …

  • Profiles of foreigners due to be executed in Indonesia
    Profiles of foreigners due to be executed in Indonesia

    Eight foreign drug convicts are set to be executed in Indonesia after losing all appeals for clemency. Here are brief profiles of the inmates, who include two from Australia, one each from Brazil and the Philippines, and four from Africa. Myuran Sukumaran A ringleader of the Bali Nine drugs smuggling syndicate, Sukumaran was born in London in 1981 and moved with his Sri Lankan family to Australia when he was a child. Enticed by the prospect of easy money, in 2005 he helped to organise a …

  • Indonesia says will not delay execution of Filipina convict
    Indonesia says will not delay execution of Filipina convict

    JAKARTA (Reuters) - The execution of a Filipina drug convict by an Indonesian firing squad will not be delayed despite last-minute appeals by the Philippine government, the attorney general said on Tuesday. Indonesian President Joko Widodo earlier met with a migrant workers' group to discuss the case of Mary Jane Veloso, who is one of nine people set to be executed within hours. (Reporting by Rosemarie Francisco in MANLIA and Gayatri Suroyo in JAKARTA; Editing by Clarence Fernandez) …

  • Nine face midnight firing squad in Indonesia, hopes for reprieve gone
    Nine face midnight firing squad in Indonesia, hopes for reprieve gone

    By Kanupriya Kapoor CILACAP, Indonesia (Reuters) - Nine drug traffickers held emotional farewell meetings with their families at an Indonesian prison on Tuesday, after Jakarta rejected last-ditch pleas from around the world for clemency and ordered their mass execution to proceed within hours. "I won't see him again," said Raji Sukumaran, the mother of an Australian who will go before a firing squad along with a fellow countryman and convicts from Nigeria, Brazil, the Philippines and …

  • Aquino appeals to Indonesia one more time to keep Filipina alive
    Aquino appeals to Indonesia one more time to keep Filipina alive

    Philippine President Benigno Aquino said he made one last appeal to the Indonesian government to spare a Filipina among nine prisoners set to be executed for drug trafficking on Tuesday as she could be a vital witness in prosecuting drug syndicates. It was Aquino's third personal appeal, after the Indonesian attorney general rejected the Philippines' request on Monday for a second judicial review of the case of Mary Jane Veloso, who her lawyers say merely served as an unknowing mule to drug …

  • Cheapest motorcycles in the Philippines under PhP 40,000
    Cheapest motorcycles in the Philippines under PhP 40,000

    Are you hunting for an affordable motorcycle which you can use for personal use or a family service vehicle? Carmudi PH presents to you some of the cheapest motorcycles in the Philippines today. These budget friendly motorbikes will surely not hurt your pockets, and you may even buy them on the spot instead of monthly […] The post Cheapest motorcycles in the Philippines under PhP 40,000 appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

  • Indonesia gears up for executions as families wail in grief
    Indonesia gears up for executions as families wail in grief

    Indonesia made final preparations Tuesday to execute eight foreigners by firing squad, as family members wailed in grief during last visits to their loved ones and ambulances carrying white coffins arrived at the drug convicts' prison. Relatives of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, the Australian ringleaders of the so-called "Bali Nine" heroin trafficking group, arrived at Nusakambangan prison calling for mercy for their loved ones, with Sukumaran's sister collapsing in grief. They are among …

  • Labor Day heat index may heat feverish levels

    Temperatures could soar on Labor Day this Friday, with the "init factor" reaching the 40°C level in some areas of the country. Labor Day is a holiday in the Philippines, though many Filipinos are expected to go out to the streets to call for better working conditions. The so-called "init factor" or "heat index" gives the apparent temperature, taking into account the actual air temperature as well as other factors such as humidity. State weather agency PAGASA's Tuesday heat index indicated …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options