Meeting solons and advocates during the “Occupy for RH” event
Frustrated with the continued delay in the passage of the controversial Reproductive Health bill, its advocates began last November 21 putting up Occupy Wall Street-inspired protest camps in the SB Park in Quezon City – just across the South Wing Gate of the House of Representatives.
A week before that, House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales, Jr. (Lone district, Mandaluyong) announced that the solons would vote on the measure by June next year, instead of December this year, since “at least 20 congressmen are still lined up for interpellations.”
Dr. Junice Melgar, the movement’s chief coordinator, told GMA News in an interview: “The lawmakers can’t keep interpellating ‘til kingdom come. ‘Wag nilang patayin ang RH bill dahil sa delay.” (They should not kill the RH bill through delays.) I went to the event last November 24. On that night, campers were entertained by singers Bayang Barrios and Cookie Chua.
Party list solons Abigail Faye Ferriol (Kalinga) and Raymond Palatino (Kabataan) also briefly addressed the crowd. I was able to speak to them re their support for the said bill. Award-winning blogger and prominent RH bill advocate Elizabeth Angsioco was also present in the event. I am sharing with you photos I took:
*Advocates told me they intend to continue “occupying” for RH until House solons prioritize its passage before they go on a Christmas break. Angsioco told me it is possible if “there’s political will.”
You know something’s wrong in our legislative system when Speaker Sonny Belmonte was able to gather 188 signatures for the impeachment resolution against Chief Justice Renato Corona in merely FIVE HOURS while the Reproductive Health bill is still pending in Congress after TEN YEARS.
Solons want more deliberations on the RH bill on one hand even though it has been pending for a decade now. On the other, a vast majority of them endorsed the Corona impeachment complaint even without being able to read its eight articles.