MANILA, Philippines – Both sides of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill debate are poised for another showdown this week at the House of Representatives.
RH proponents hope to get the House leadership to force a vote on several amendments that were recently proposed in a compromise version.
One of the authors of the bill, Senator Pia Cayetano, is hoping the Senate leadership will put the controversial measure to a vote before Congress adjours in December.
In an interview with ANC, Cayetano said some senators seem to be “dilly-dallying” in an effort to block the passage of the bill.
“We’ve been moving slowly, not as fast as I would like,” she said. “We all know that with the election coming up, we only have a few days left in our working calendar, a few weeks.”
“There are only a few days left, and I would hate for this measure not to get to a vote because we dilly-dallied,” she added.
Only Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Senator Ralph Recto have yet to take their turns in the floor deliberations.
“I know the amendments both of them want to make,” Cayetano said of her two colleagues. “It’s just a matter of putting it out there on the floor. Either I accept it or I reject it.”
“If I do reject it, and they want to appeal that to the body, we put it to a vote. It’s as simple as that,” she said.
Enrile is opposed to the use of contraceptives, while Recto does not want to add more burden to local government units by letting them implement the provisions of the bill.
Cayetano said she was not being “unreasonable” about wanting to put the RH Bill to a vote. “I don’t require that the RH Bill is on the agenda every single day,” she said.
“But when I hear statements that RH will take a backseat, or that we have to shelf RH for this year, that really annoys me,” Cayetano said.
“I only need half an hour. Don’t give me that... wala ng time for that,” she added.
Cayetano said she will be available all week to listen to the amendments. – Report from ANC