PNoy hopes to sign RH bill before year ends

By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 19 2012 02:31 PM | Updated as of Dec 19 2012 10:31 PM

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino is hoping to sign into law the reproductive health bill, along with the sin tax reform measure, before the year ends.

Aquino was thanking Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Speaker Sonny Belmonte and other lawmakers for the timely passage of the 2013 budget when he made another pitch for the immediate ratification of the RH bill.

“Sa puntong ito, nais kong parangalan ang Kongreso, sa pamumuno nina Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile at House Speaker Sonny Belmonte, katuwang sina Senate Finance Committee Chairman Franklin Drilon at ang mga nagsilbing House Appropriations Chairperson sa panahong ito: si Jun Abaya na kasama na natin sa Gabinete ngayon; at ang kanyang kahalili na si Congresswoman Jocelyn Limkaichong,” Aquino said in his speech.

“Ginawa ninyong posible muli ang maagang pagsasabatas sa Budget, kasabay ng inyong pagganap sa iba pang mahahalagang trabaho sa Kongreso, kabilang na ang pagpapasa ng Sin Tax Reform, at ang pagtalakay sa Responsible Parenthood Bill. Syempre po inaasahan nating lalapag sa aking mesa upang malagdaan ko ang mga batas na natukoy sa lalong madaling panahon, preferably ho this year,” he added.

Speaking to reporters, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) Secretary Ricky Carandang said the sin tax reform measure may be signed into law within the week.

“Before the end of the week, we might have a good chance of having another signing ceremony before the end of the week, possibly.”

Meantime, the Palace said it respects the position of Church members who reportedly intends to question the RH bill before the Supreme Court.

Carandang was also asked about an archbishop’s reported intention to seek a dialogue with the President to supposedly convince him to change his position on the RH bill.

“I think they have every right to go to the court, and we will respect that as we have respected their right to air their views. [We] have respected their position; we have never once said anything that would even be remotely insulting to them, and we will continue to turn the other cheek. Tapos na po ‘yung debate. Para sa amin tapos na po ‘yung isyu ng reproductive health. We believe there are many issues that we have common cause with the Church—issues of the environment, issues of helping the poor. And we would rather focus moving forward on areas where we have common cause with the Church.”