Lawmakers welcome Belmonte’s statement on Aug. 7 plenary RH debate voting

HOUSE members today welcomed the statement of Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. that the House will hold plenary voting on August 7, 2012 whether to terminate or continue floor interpellation and debate on the Reproductive Health Bill.

The lawmakers expressed belief the House has extensively and adequately discussed and debated on the floor the RH bill since plenary interpellations started on May 17, 2011.

Rep. Neri Colmenares (Party-list, Bayan Muna) said he agrees with the Speaker’s proposal to terminate the plenary debates so the House can proceed in deciding the ultimate fate of the RH bill.

“I support the Speaker’s proposal to terminate the debates so we can vote on the possible amendments and finally vote whether to approve or disapprove the bill,” said Colmenares, a human rights lawyer and Vice
Chairman of the Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms.

Rep. Ben Evardone (Lone District, Eastern Samar) said the Speaker’s statement is a welcome development since the RH bill has been extensively debated on in plenary.

“All the issues that involve the RH bill have been expounded,” said Evardone, Chairman of the House Committee on Information.

Rep. Janette Garin (1st District, Iloilo), Senior Deputy Majority Leader, said the Speaker’s statement reflects a strong political will and determination to put the House in order.

Garin, also a Vice Chairperson of the House Committees on Health and on Population and Family Relations, is author of House Bill 101 which is among the six RH bills consolidated and substituted by House Bill 4244 or the proposed “Act Providing for a Comprehensive Policy on Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health, and Population and Development.”

“The debate on the proposed “Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health, and Population and Development Act” has been pending for the past 11 years. We owe it to our people to vote on this so that government resources and time can be used wisely and appropriately,” said Garin.

Rep. Augusto Syjuco (2nd District, Iloilo), a Deputy Minority Leader, said the Speaker is adopting an accurate and prudent step in determining the House decision to terminate or continue the RH plenary debates through a vote.

“The Speaker is right and his decision to put it into a vote is a wise one. That allows each one to participate equally in the determination of whether enough is enough, and so let’s get it done, and proceed to the next step forthwith,” said Syjuco.

Rep. Simeon Datumanong (2nd District, Maguindanao) supported the Speaker’s position that it is time to vote on whether to end or continue plenary interpellations on the RH bill. “I think it is time to close the period of interpellation and vote on the bill,” he said.

Datumanong, former Deputy Speaker for Mindanao, said the approval of the measure in the 15th Congress can be realized if lawmakers now terminate the debate and proceed to the amendments of the RH bill.

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