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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Reproductive health bill up for debate at lower house

After so many years, so many revisions, so many debates and demonstrations, finally... the RH Bill is up for plenary discussions!!! So many Congress Sessions have opened and ended without this bill reaching the plenary for debates. And now, finally....

Ok guys, the HEAT is definitely ON!!!

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
First Posted 19:07:00 09/09/2008

MANILA, Philippines—Amid strong opposition from the Catholic church and from no less than President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, reproductive health bill proponents at the House of Representatives are pushing for the measure, seen to curb the country's ballooning population.

On Tuesday, the committee on rules approved the plenary hearing of the controversial House Bill 5043 or the "Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population Development Act of 2008".

Arroyo, a devout Catholic, is backing the church's position against artificial contraception as Congress tries to legislate a population management policy.

Albay Representative Edcel Lagman, the bill's author, hailed the endorsement of the bill for plenary consideration as a "victory for Reproductive Health advocates who have been waiting for the enactment of this bill for almost a decade and the 96 co-authors of the measure who are unwavering in their support for the bill's eventual enactment."

The bill was first jointly referred to the Committee on Health and Committee on Population and Family Relations which approved it in June. In August the
Committee on Appropriations approved the appropriation cover of the measure.

"The bill is not about condoms and pills and neither is it about religion. It is primarily about health and rights," Lagman said in a statement. He added that the measure would be "an indispensable development tool given that rapid population growth impacts negatively on all aspects of human development."

The controversial bill was scarcely mentioned during Tuesday's budget hearing of the Department of Health at the House committee on appropriations.

The DoH is seeking a P33.3 billion budget from Congress for 2009.