MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Pia Cayetano, principal sponsor of the Senate Reproductive Health (RH) bill, said debates on the controversial bill will start on Monday, August 1.
In a statement, Cayetano said she expects the interpellations to be opened on the Senate floor after Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago delivers her co-sponsorship speech on the RH bill during Monday's session.
"In answering the interpellations, I will focus on socioeconomics, which covers such topics as maternal and child health, family planning concerns, statistics and other social issues, while Sen. Defensor Santiago has offered to discuss issues on Catholic theology and constitutional and international law," said Cayetano, who also chairs the Senate Committee on Health and Demography and Committee on Youth, Women and Family Relations.
"I do expect sparks to fly from time to time, but I trust the Senate debates to be intelligent, informative and firmly focused on relevant issues related to the measure."
Cayetano maintained that the RH bill, or Senate Bill No. 2865 under Committee Report No. 49, will "save the lives of mothers, the newborn and children."
"I do hope to clarify whatever misconceptions that they may have in the course of the plenary debates," she said.
Twenty out of the 23-member chamber signed Committee Report No. 49 when it was filed before the Senate adjourned its first regular session last June.
Of the number, 6 signed without reservations, 13 signified their intention to interpellate or amend, while 1 dissented.
Meanwhile, Cayetano believes that President Benigno Aquino III continues to support the RH bill.
"Even if it wasn't mentioned in the SONA, I believe that the President supports it," she said.