[PHOTO -DEBATES OVER. Lawmakers attend a session at the House of Representatives Monday, opting to end debate on the controversial Reproductive Health Bill. AP]

MANILA, AUGUST 30, 2012 (PHILSTAR) By Cheryl M. Arcibal - A lawmaker supporting the Reproductive Health Bill on Wednesday said that the House of Representatives wastes some P50 million in each session that voting on the measure is delayed.

Pangasinan Rep. Kimi Cojuangco said in a radio interview that there is no more reason to keep on delaying voting on the RH Bill, a measure that was endorsed by President Benigno Aquino III in his state of the nation address last July.

"Fifty million [pesos] - we spend that much per day. That's what it cost [when we delay the voting on the RH bill]. This is really a disservice to the nation, we could be saving so many lives. What I'm saying is that the budget per year of the House of Representatives, we spend P50 million a day per session for every crazy delay that goes on," Cojuangco said.

The RH Bill, which has been pending in Congress, for 14 years is opposed by the Catholic church for allegedly promoting abortion to address the swelling Philippine population.

Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon has also slammed some of his colleagues for delaying voting on the RH Bill. He dismissed perceptions that the nation is still not ready or mature to discuss the RH Bill.

Cojuangco added that she would keep on supporting the RH Bill because her constituents need and support the measure.

"Hindi pro-abortion ang RH Bill kundi isang paraan ng pagpaplano ng pamilya. The RH Bill is a law-abiding measure. The FDA has approved the sale of contraceptives in any drug store," Cojuangco said.

On August 6, the House of Representatives voted to end the debate and begin the period of amendment on House Bill 4244 or the The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health And Population And Development Act Of 2011.

However, House members opposing the bill vowed that they would fight the passage of the House Bill 4224 or the consolidated version of six RH measures.

The period of debates on the Senate version of the bill, Senate Bill 2865 (Reproductive Health Act of 2011), has also ended.


Don’t tolerate filibustering on RH Bill, House leaders urged By Karen Boncocan

[PHOTO -Rep. Roilo Golez. Photo from photo)]

MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers against the Reproductive Health Bill may have succeeded in halting developments on the proposed measure but those pushing for it urged the leaders of the House of Representatives on Friday to no longer tolerate such actions.

Asked to comment on Paranaque Rep. Roilo Golez’s statement that it was not the privilege speeches of anti-RH lawmakers which prevented the bill from being opened to amendments but the low attendance of pro-RH legislators on the floor, House deputy majority leader Janette Garin reiterated “palusot lang nila yan. We were just being polite first to Congressman (Dennis) Socrates then (Congressman) Rufus (Rodriguez) then the rest.”

It was Socrates, who represented Palawan in the House of Representatives, who insisted on Tuesday that he be granted the time for a privilege speech on the sudden change in the schedule of voting for the termination of House Bill 4244 debates. He said that it was unfair to many lawmakers who prepared to cast their votes on August 7 only to learn that it was moved to August 6.

Members of the House who voted through viva voce vote were split on allowing him to speak or not. The Palawan lawmaker’s request for a nominal voting, after failing to secure enough “aye” or yes votes through viva voce, was left hanging when session was adjourned.

“The next day we made it clear on the record that anti-responsible parenthood congressmen are filibustering, conveying to the leadership that this should not be tolerated anymore in the coming session days,” added Garin, one of the proponents of the bill.

She believes that lawmakers working in opposition to HB 4244 have stepped up their efforts to prevent amendments from being tackled because they “presumably got a ‘scolding’ from a powerful sector for allowing the debate to end.”

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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