Palace thanks Congress for 'historic' RH vote

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 17 2012 08:32 PM | Updated as of Dec 18 2012 04:13 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang on Monday was all praises for the Senate and the lower House in approving the reproductive health (RH) bill.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, in a press statement, described the vote as "historic."

"We thank our senators and congressmen who voted for access to information and care," he said.

The Palace thanked House Speaker Sonny Belmonte, Majority Floor Leader Boyet Gonzales, Congressman Edcel Lagman, Senator Pia Cayetano, and all lawmakers WHO voted for this measure.

"They have made it even clearer: The people now have the government on their side as they raise their families in a manner that is just and empowered," Lacierda said.

"As President Aquino asked, our representatives voted according to conscience. Discussions regarding this bill 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," he added.

Lacierda said the passage of the Senate and House versions of the bill, which will now go to the bicameral conference committee for consolidation before being sent to the President for signing, "signals not only a new chapter in our agenda of inclusive growth; it also begins a process of healing for the wounds that may have been opened by an often feisty democracy."

"We are confident that positive, meaningful engagement between the different branches of government will continue," he said. "Let all Filipinos now come together in unity for the future of the country that we all love."

The Senate on Monday approved the RH bill 13-8, on final reading. It was passed by the House, 133-79, with 7 abstentions.