By a vote of 133 “yes” versus 79 “no” votes with seven abstentions, congressmen presided by Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III,  approved House Bill 4244 otherwise known as Reproductive Health bill.
(Photo credits: congress media service)

 

MANILA, Philippines – The highly debated Reproductive Health Bill is just an inch from becoming law after both chambers of the House ratifies the bicameral conference committee report on Wednesday.

The reconciled version of the bill now called Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 was signed by the members of the bicameral conference committee on Wednesday, December 19, 2012, the last day of Congressional session this year.

The bill just needs the signature of President Benigno Aquino III to officially make it a law.

The office of Senator Pia Cayetano, the principal sponsor of the Senate version of the bill said11 senators voted in favor of the bicameral report. The senators are the following:

1. Sen. Pia Cayetano
2. Sen.Alan Peter Cayetano
3. Sen. Joker Arroyo
4. Sen. Edgardo Angara
5. Sen. Franklin Drilon
6. Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago
7. Sen. Teofisto Guingona III
8. Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr
9. Sen. Sergio Osmeña III
10. Sen. Panfilo Lacson
11. Sen. Loren Legarda

Moreover, five senators who were consistently voting against the bill in the 2nd  and third and final reading again voted against its ratification. These are:

1. Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile
2. Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III
3. Sen. Jinggoy Estrada
4. Sen. Gregorio Honasan II
5. Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III

The supporters of the bill are delighted with RH Bill ratification. The bill marks a historical development of the reproductive health directive in the country, over failed attempts in previous congresses, in the past 14 years. The RH bill seeks to provide affordable access to family planning methods and hopes to promote women’s rights.

The people opposing the RH Bill on the other hand are “saddened” with the bill’s ratification. The church moreover is “disappointed” about it. Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said in a pastoral letter that “the bill is a moral time bomb that will pave the way to more crimes if signed into law.” The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) officials are reported to support a plan by anti-RH bill lawyers questioning the measure before the Supreme Court.