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Is RH Bill a priority measure? No.


MANILA, Philippines—Despite support from the President, the controversial reproductive health bill is not among the priority bills of the House of Representatives when it opens its 2nd regular session on Monday, July 25, 2011. In a press release, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte listed the following 23 bills as additional priority measures on top of the original priorities of the legislative executive development advisory council (LEDAC):

  1. Terrorist Financing Suppression Act of 2010;
  2. Amendments to the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002;
  3. Reorganizing the Philippine Statistical System;
  4. Strengthening the Animal Industry and Veterinary Quarantine Services;
  5. Providing for the Modernization of PAG-ASA;
  6. Providing for a Maritime Code of the Philippines;
  7. Eliminating Gender Bias on Adultery and Concubinage Act;
  8. Amending RA 7877, “Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995;
  9. Women’s Higher Education Act;
  10. Providing for a Nationwide Scholarship Program for Indigenous Peoples;
  11. Expanding the coverage of the Science and Technology Scholarship Program;
  12. Extending the life of the Land Bank of the Philippines;
  13. Land Management Bureau Survey of Cadastral Lots in
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    the entire Country;

  14. Providing for the delineation of the specific Forest limits of the Public Domain;
  15. Banning Asbestos and Asbestos-containing products;
  16. Establishing Number Portability for Mobile Telephone Service;
  17. Regulating the placement of billboards;
  18. Telecommunications Accessibility Act;
  19. Anti-Prostitution Act 2011;
  20. Prohibiting the use of the words “Muslim” and “Christian” in Mass Media;
  21. Debts-for-MDGs Swap;
  22. Creating a Center for Studies on Indigenous Cultural Communities; and
  23. Filipino Volunteerism in National-Building Act.

The RH Bill was already not part of the original LEDAC priorities. Civil society backers of the RH bill gathered in Quezon City on Wednesday, July 20, 2011, to call for the inclusion of the RH Bill in the President’s state of the nation address on Monday. The call was made by former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros and Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines chairperson Elizabeth Angsioco. Hontiveros, Alagad party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta and Kabataan party-list Rep. Raymond Palatino expressed confidence that the bill would eventually be approved by the House. Dr. Gill Greer, director general of the International Planned Parenthood Foundation, wrote President Aquino to commend him for his support for the proposed universal health care program as well as his commitment to responsible parenthood and reproductive health. Greer expressed alarm in her letter too. “We are distressed that in the Philippines, the MDG (Millenium development Goals) targets directly related to health and education are least likely to be achieved by 2015.” Greer is on a three-day visit to the country to show her support for the RH Bill. The RH Bill went through the legislative wringer in the last session. At least 30 interpellators are expected to debate the matter before the bill could go through a period of amendments. After that, the House will call for a vote. ACT Teachers’ Party-List Antonio Tinio earlier told reporters that based on his own head count, at least 120 lawmakers already back the bill. He says 90 solons are opposed to it, while 60 others belong to the silent majority. The Catholic Church has vigorously opposed the measure.—Newsbreak   Newsbreak’s coverage of the RH Bill debate is in partnership with the Friedrich Naumann Stiftung

CATEGORY: Congress, Institutions, The Legislature
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  1. See how the fingerprint of the Lord manifests in this “priority bills” without the RH BILL.

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