Senate, House approve Reproductive Health bill on third and final reading

(Updated 9:11 p.m.) In a historic vote, both houses of Congress on Monday night approved on third and final reading the contentious Reproductive Health (RH) bill.

The Senate voted 13-8 to pass the bill, while the House of Representatives did the same with an overwhelming 133-79 votes with seven absentions.

"Our legislature took an historic vote today for women and families--as it successfully passed the Reproductive Health Bill," Malacañang said in a statement lauding the approval of the bill.

"We thank our Senators and Congressmen who voted for access to information and care."

Related story: RH bill will corrupt PH, bishops warn

President Benigno Aquino III certified the bill as "urgent" last week, hastening the passage of the measure in both houses of Congress.

The Palace said the lawmakers "voted according to conscience" and that discussions "were heated and did not lack for passionate advocates from either side."

"Despite this, our legislators fulfilled their duties with honor: they crafted a law that can truly address the needs of our people," it said.

People celebrate after legislators pass a landmark birth control bill in Manila on December 17, 2012. Philippine Catholic church leaders vowed Tuesday to overturn a birth control bill after lawmakers ... more 
People celebrate after legislators pass a landmark birth control bill in Manila on December 17, 2012. Philippine Catholic church leaders vowed Tuesday to overturn a birth control bill after lawmakers passed legislation to make birth control more widely available less 
1 / 11
AFP News
Tue, Dec 18, 2012 4:40 PM PHT

Day for RH bill

"There is no force more powerful than idea whose time has come," said Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, one of the authors of the RH bill.

"Today is the day for the RH [bill]."

The bill promotes the use of both natural and artificial methods of birth control, responsible parenthood, and the education of the youth on reproductive health issues.

The influential Roman Catholic Church, which supports only natural family planning, has strongly opposed the bill.

Critics also argue that the measure seeks to curb the country's population, which currently stands at 94 million, and promotes promiscuity.

Also read: RH bill-U.S. massacre comparison slammed

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada, Senators Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, Antonio Trillanes IV, Manuel Villar, Bong Revilla, Vicente Sotto III, and Gregorio Honasan voted against the passage of the bill.

On the other hand, aside from Santiago, senators Edgardo Angara, Joker Arroyo, Pia Cayetano, Alan Peter Cayetano, Franklin Drilon, Francis Escudero, Teofisto Guingona III, Panfilo Lacson, Loren Loren, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Francis Pangilinan, and Ralph Recto voted for the measure.

Senators Lito Lapid and Sergio Osmeña III were absent during Monday's session.

Right place

"I know that we are heading in the right place by passing this measure," said Sen. Pia Cayetano, the bill's sponsor.

Cayetano said the bill "is for every woman who wallows in poverty, those who do not even know na may right silang hindi mabugbog."

Arroyo, meanwhile, said the bill "promises more than it can deliver."

"Sex is not the root of poverty and children, who are our joy, are not the cause of underdevelopment. Bad politics and bad government are more likely candidates for that distinction," said Arroyo, who voted yes but with conditions.

He also said another "misgiving" is that it was only adopted by the Palace "as a demonstration of its power even over churches."

He noted, however, that he found that many "reasonable amendments" were introduced to the measure.

Arroyo, however, threatened to change his vote if those amendments are removed during the bicameral conference committee meetings.

Related story: Miriam on rumored Senate coup vs Enrile: 'I wish'


Recto, for his part, said that he will only vote yes on the condition that "dead provisions will not resurrect like zombies, and newly-birthed ones will not be slaughtered in this third chamber."

"If the Senate contingent will watch idly by as our amendments will be subjected to bicameral abortion, that what will be returned here will be mangled version beyond recognition, then I will exercise my option to vote in the negative," he said.

"Wide chasm of division"

Enrile, Estrada and Sotto said that their opposition to the measure was not influenced by anyone and is based on the dictates of their conscience.

Enrile said he has seen how divisive the measure is.

"This bill no doubt has inflicted a very wide chasm of division in our society for various reasons," he said.

He added by voting no, he wishes to be proven wrong.

Estrada, for his part, said he was convinced by the supposed effect of the bill on Filipino families.

"Minors are being lulled into a false sense of security that it is okay to have sex so long as it is protected sex. Wag naman sana natin pahintulutan nag patuloy na pagbaba ng moralidad sa ating bansa," he said.

In other news: Pacquiao says Marquez KO strengthened his opposition to RH bill

An emotional Sotto, meanwhile, said: "If we approve this measure may I ask God the father to forgive us because we do not know what we are doing."

Lacson, for his part, commended Enrile and Sotto for tenacity in fighting for their beliefs.

Years in the making

Sen. Pia Cayetano, co-sponsor of Senate Bill No.2865 or The Reproductive Health Act, first sponsored the measure on June 7, 2011.

But it only hurdled the period of interpellation almost a year later.
Cayetano, in an interview after the voting, said she prefers the bicameral conference committee meetings on the bill to start on Wednesday.

Since then, several senators have moved to introduce amendments to the bill during the period of committee and individual amendments.

Included in the major amendments are: the removal of the mandate on local government units (LGU) to provide health care services to their constituents; and the requirement of parental consent from minors who wish to gain access to RH services, including contraceptives, from public health facilities.

House approves bill on final reading

Supporters of the RH bill, formally known as House Bill 4244, managed to increase their numbers Monday to lead the measure to its passage.

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., who approached the rostrum during the voting and registered an emphatic "Yes" vote, led the pro-RH legislators in passing the Palace-certified measure.

Last Thursday, the RH bill squeaked through second reading at the House in a 113-104 vote with three abstentions. —with Andreo Calonzo/RSJ/HS/YA/KBK, GMA News
People celebrate after legislators pass a landmark birth control bill in Manila on December 17, 2012. Philippine Catholic church leaders vowed Tuesday to overturn a birth control bill after lawmakers ... more 
People celebrate after legislators pass a landmark birth control bill in Manila on December 17, 2012. Philippine Catholic church leaders vowed Tuesday to overturn a birth control bill after lawmakers passed legislation to make birth control more widely available less 
1 / 11
AFP News
Tue, Dec 18, 2012 4:40 PM PHT
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.

  • OIC asked to complete review of peace pact with MNLF
    OIC asked to complete review of peace pact with MNLF

    The Philippine government is asking the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to finally complete the tripartite review process of the implementation of the 1996 peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). The review – snagged  for several years as government had its hands full with the peace process with rival faction Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) – tackles how the 1996 peace pact with the MNLF has been implemented and centers on the three remaining …

  • Alleged Binay dummies appear in Senate probe
    Alleged Binay dummies appear in Senate probe

    Eight of the resource persons ordered arrested by the Senate finally attended the 21st public hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee into the alleged anomalies involving Vice President Jejomar Binay, but the proceedings turned out to be a review of matters previously presented. For over three hours, the subcommittee heard presentations regarding the alleged hidden assets of Binay and the issue regarding the supposed P200 million in kickbacks he received from a deal between the Boy …

  • DOJ wraps up Mamasapano probe
    DOJ wraps up Mamasapano probe

    The Department of Justice (DOJ) is wrapping up its investigation into the “massacre” of 44 members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25. A joint team of prosecutors and NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) investigators is about to finish the second part,” Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has told congressmen. She was responding to questions raised by former senior police officer and now Rep. Samuel Pagdilao of party-list …

  • APEC meet in Bataan seen to boost tourism
    APEC meet in Bataan seen to boost tourism

    BALANGA CITY, Bataan – More than 2,000 delegates of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and international media outfits are expected to enjoy the splendid coastline of Bagac town, which faces the West Philippine Sea, as they converge for a workshop in this province next month. …

  • DOST opens P54-M research facility
    DOST opens P54-M research facility

    A P54-million research and development facility of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) was recently opened in Bicutan, Taguig for scientists and researchers to develop technology and techniques to allow Filipino fashion and clothing designers and manufacturers to produce more mainstream products from local, tropical fabrics like piña, banana and abaca. Science Secretary Mario Montejo said the Innovation Center for Yarns and Textiles (ICYT) is the DOST’s flagship effort at reviving …

  • DFA worried about alleged violations of convicted Pinoys’ rights
    DFA worried about alleged violations of convicted Pinoys’ rights

    Philippine embassy officials in Doha have raised their concern with Qatari authorities over coercion and human rights violations in the alleged forcing of three Filipino workers convicted of spying to provide information and confess to the crime. Speaking to reporters, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Charles Jose yesterday said the embassy has raised the matter during several high-level meetings with Qatari officials and the national human rights committee in Qatar. “Our embassy …

  • US affirms ‘ironclad’ promise to defend Phl
    US affirms ‘ironclad’ promise to defend Phl

    US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told his Philippine counterpart on Wednesday that Washington’s pledge to defend the Pacific nation remains “ironclad” and called for an end to land reclamation in the South China Sea, officials said. In talks in Hawaii with Voltaire Gazmin, Philippine secretary of national defense, the Pentagon chief “reaffirmed” the strong ties between the two countries and discussed territorial disputes in the contested waters of the South China Sea, where Beijing has been …

  • ‘Conflict to affect economic growth, stability in SEA’
    ‘Conflict to affect economic growth, stability in SEA’

    Conflict in the South China Sea can affect economic growth and stability in Southeast Asia, New Zealand warned yesterday, amid China’s aggressive reclamation activities in disputed waters. New Zealand is marking its 40 th year of diplomatic ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and hopes to intensify trade and other linkages with the 10-member grouping. ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam have overlapping territorial claims with China over the Spratly …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options