10 major amendments proposed by RH authors

AUTHORS of the reproductive health (RH) bill have listed 10 major amendments that include the recommendations of President Benigno Aquino III.
House Bill 4244 entered the period of amendments last Tuesday, a week after congressmen terminated the debates upon the instruction of President Benigno Aquino III, who met them in a luncheon in Malacañang.
The list of amendments signed by main proponent Albay Representative Edcel Lagman includes:
1. Deletion on its entirety of Section 20 on Ideal Family Size to obviate criticisms that the RH bill imposes a two-child policy similar to China’s one-child policy.
2. Deletion on its entirety of Section 21 on Employers’ Responsibilities to address the concerns particularly of the organized employers and businessmen in favor of enacting the RH bill. The deleted provision is a reiteration and augmentation of what the Labor Code provides under Article 134, which is deemed presently adequate.
3. Deletion in its entirety of Section 10 on Family Planning Supplies as Essential Medicines to accommodate the objection of some members of the House of Representatives on the classification by law of contraceptives as essential medicines despite the WHO’s prescription and inclusion of contraceptives in its Drug Formulary. In lieu of the deleted provision, the following amendment will be effected to defer the lawful jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration: “The Food and Drug Administration shall determine the safety, efficacy and classification of products and supplies for modern family planning methods prior to their distribution, procurement, sale and use.”
4. Amendments will be effected on Section 16 on Mandatory Age Appropriate Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education as follows:
a. As suggested by the President, RH and sex education should start from Grade 6, instead of Grade 5.
b. The qualification that the teaching values formation should be “with due regard to religious affiliation” as suggested by the President.
c. The following shall be included among the subjects of reproductive health and sexuality education: Beneficient results of Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education on Proper and Responsible Sexual Values and Behaviour; Delayed Entry into Sexual Relations; Abstinence before Marriage; Avoidance of Multiple Sexual Partners; Prevention and Spread of Sexually Transmitted Diseases.
d. A new paragraph is included under the provision on RH and Sexuality Education to afford parents the option not to allow their minor children to attend reproductive health and sexuality education classes to accord respect to religious convictions and beliefs as contained in the bill’s Declaration of Policy.
5. The acquisition and operation of Mobile Health Care Service for congressional districts shall be funded by the National Government, instead from the Priority Development Assistance Fund to address the objections of some members of the House who refuse to use their PDAF for MHCS.
6. Amendments on Section 28 on Prohibited Acts will be:
a. The entire subsection (2) on refusal to perform legal and medically-safe reproductive health procedures shall be rephrased as follows upon the suggested amendments on phraseology by President Aquino:
(2) Refuse to perform legal and medically-safe reproductive health procedures on any person of legal age on the ground of lack of consent or authorization of the following persons in the following circumstances:
1. The lack of marital consent in case of married persons, provided that in case of disagreement, the decision of the one undergoing the procedure shall prevail; and
2. The lack of parental consent or that of the person exercising parental authority in case of abused minors, where the parent or the person exercising parental authority is the respondent, accused or convicted perpetrator as certified by the proper prosecutorial office or the court.
b. The provision requiring a conscientious objector to refer the person requiring family planning service or procedure to a willing health care provider is qualified by the amendment which reads: “Without in anyway agreeing or endorsing the family planning service or procedure required by the persons concerned.”
c. A public official in order to be liable for the prohibited act of banning or restricting the delivery of legal and medically safe reproductive health care services should be an official “charged with the duty to implement the provisions of the Act.”
d. To allay fears of undue curtailment of freedom of expression, the following prohibited act is deleted: Any person who maliciously engages in disinformation about the intent or provision of this Act.
e. To disabuse the minds of critics that there is a lobby by pharmaceutical companies for the enactment of an RH bill and that the authors are influenced by this lobby, a new prohibited act is included: Any pharmaceutical company, whether domestic or multi-national, or its agent or distributors which (1) shall collude with government officials, whether appointed or elected, in the distribution, procurement and/or sale by the national government and local government units of modern family planning supplies, products and devices; and/or (2) contribute money or anything of value to partisan political activities involving a government official, whether appointed or elected, and/or any candidate for any elective position, whether national or local.
7. To further debunk the existence of the alleged lobby, a new provision on penalties is added: If the offender is a pharmaceutical company, its agent and/or distributor, their license or permit to operate or conduct business in the Philippines shall be perpetually revoked, and a fine triple the amount involved in the violation shall be imposed.
8. To underscore that the bill also requires the State to promote natural methods of family planning, particularly the modern natural methods like the Billings, Symptom-Thermal and Standard Days methods, the President’s proposed amendment as modified shall be effected as follows: Provided, that the State will provide funding support to promote modern natural methods of family planning consistent with the needs of acceptors.
9. To guarantee religious freedom, an amendment proposed by the President shall be incorporated in the bill to effect that “Hospitals owned and operated by a religious group has the option whether or not to provide a full range of modern family planning methods.”
10. In order to emphasize that the RH bill is not a population control measure and he reproductive health care needs of the poor, particularly marginalized women, must be prioritized, the common amendments of partylist Gabriela, Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Kabataan and ACT Teachers are accepted as follows:
a. Section 3(1) on Guiding Principles is amended to read as: The resources of the country must be made to serve the entire population especially the poor and make allocations adequate and effective.
b. Section 12 on Integration of Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning Components in Anti-Poverty Programs is rephrased to read as: A multi-dimensional approach shall be adopted in the implementation of policies and programs to fight poverty. Towards this end, the DOH shall implement programs that will ensure full access of poor and marginalized women to reproductive health care services, products and programs. The DOH shall provide such programs technical support, including capacity-building and monitoring.
c. The role of the Population Commission as the coordinating body is limited to particular sections of the bill namely Sections 7, 10, 11, 13, 17, 19, 21 and 23. Moreover, it is stressed that the declared national policy which POPCOM is mandated to help implement does not include population control.
Meantime, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) called on their allied lawmakers to take out so-called “anti-life measures” in the amended version.
CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Family and Life chairman Bishop Gabriel Reyes said these provisions include the distribution of artificial contraceptives among families and workers, as well as the initiation of sex education in schools.
“We are still hoping since there are congressmen who told their bishops that while they will vote yes to the motion to end the interpellation and debates but when the time comes when they are going to vote to approve the RH bill or not, they will vote no. There are congressmen who said so,” said the Antipolo bishop.
A previous survey by the CBCP among their members showed there are 140 votes against the RH bill from lawmakers in their respective dioceses as against the 49 votes for it while 26 are still undecided.

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How to get to this fine-dining restaurant in Clark Philippines? Once you get to Clark Freeport, go straight until you hit Mimosa. After you enter Mimosa, stay on the left on Mimosa Drive, go past the Holiday Inn and Yats Restaurant (green top, independent 1-storey structure) is on your left. Just past the Yats Restaurant is the London Pub.

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