Highlights of the RH bicameral report

Highlights of the RH bicameral report
Conference Committee Report on SBN 2865 and HB No.4244
(Reproductive Health Act of 2012)
By Sen. Pia S. Cayetano
Senate Plenary
December 19, 2012

“Mr. President it is with great pleasure and delight that I report out the results reached by the bicameral conference committee on the disagreeing provisions of Senate Bill No.2865 and House Bill No.4244 which met today.”

“May I initially manifest that the more detailed explanatory note be considered read into the Record, but please allow me to inform my colleagues of the major agreements that have been reached in said bicameral conference through this explanatory note. Both the Senate and House versions were considered and I am pleased to say that true to my commitment to defend the Senate version, majority of the Senate provisions were adopted, some with minor amendments.

“To highlight the significant disagreeing provisions:

1) Any mention of international treaties and agreements have been removed, consistent with the amendments of Senator Sotto;

2) Any mention of population and development have likewise been deleted, also consistent with the amendments of Senator Sotto and the Senate President;

3) On the issue of providing Reproductive Health services by healthcare facilities, we retained the Senate version that only require public health facilities to provide family planning methods without prejudice to private health care facilities extending the same to paying patients with the option of granting free services to indigents;

4) On the issue of access by minors to contraceptives, we have retained the Senate version as likewise amended by Senator Recto but we have allowed a minor who is already a parent or one who has had a miscarriage to be allowed such access;

5) On reproductive health education, we have retained the Senate version as likewise amended by Senator Recto with the amendment that the Department of Education shall formulate the curriculum for public schools without prejudice to private schools adopting the same;

6) Terms that emphasize that the bill does not promote nor condone abortion or the use of abortifacients were retained and strengthened consistent with the amendments of the Senate President, Senators Sotto and Lacson.

“On Section 4(f) on the definition of ‘fetal and infant death review,’ there is a clerical error. Instead of the word ‘maternal’ on line 2, it was changed to read FETAL AND INFANT with the consent of Senator Recto because this was his amendment.

“And on the issue of the role of local governments, the bicameral committee again adopted the Senate version of Senator Recto with the additional amendment of Senator Marcos. Thus, in accordance with the Local Government Code, local government units are encouraged to comply with their mandates to provide healthcare services in the Local Government Code with the funding and other kinds of assistance from the national government.

“And finally, for the curiosity and the pleasure of the body, the term ‘safe and satisfying sex’ was retained. And this was further improved and it now reads: RESPONSIBLE, CONSENSUAL, SAFE, AND SATISFYING SEX.”

Result of the Senate vote on the Bicameral Conference Committee Report on the RH bill:

Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Pia Cayetano, Joker Arroyo, Edgardo Angara, Franklin Drilon, Miriam Santiago, Teofisto Guingona III, Serge Osmena, Bongbong Marcos, Loren Legarda and Panfilo Lacson

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Senators Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Gregorio Honasan, Jinggoy Estrada and Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III

Photo: Principal sponsor Senator Pia Cayetano reports out to the Senate floor the highlights of the reconciled version of the Senate and House versions of the Reproductive Health bill.

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