Reproductive Health Bill Dead in Congress

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Article By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) Updated February 03, 2010 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines – With only one session left today, the House of Representatives has shelved the Church-opposed reproductive health bill.

The bill was supposed to be debated in the plenary, the closest it has ever gotten to being passed in its 23-year existence.

“We cannot accommodate that (House Bill 5043) in the last two session days. There are 20 congressmen who have lined up to interpellate (on the measure),” Speaker Prospero Nograles said in a press briefing yesterday.

Nograles said it would be a waste of time to deliberate on measures that the Senate will not pass.

“We will only take up measures that we can pass. Otherwise, we will be tied with debates on bills that we can’t produce anymore,” he said.

Nograles said a liaison officer between the House and the Senate was assigned to determine the bills that both chambers can pass.

“What is more important to us now is teamwork (between senators and members of the House of Representatives),” he said.

Nograles also dismissed proposals for a special session.

“The special session is a judgment call of the President, if she feels that some of her measures are not yet acted upon. But the problem is, can we have a quorum?” he said.

Reproductive health bill author Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman still hopes the bill would be passed in the next administration.

“This is not the end of the road for the RH bill. We still have the 15th Congress (July 2010-June 2013),” Lagman said.

The measure was filed during the 8th Congress (1987-1992), during the Aquino regime, and subsequently re-filed.  Continue reading here.

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