Before I type my opinions away again, I've read Senate Bill 2865 or AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A NATIONAL POLICY ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT.
After reading, I'm exasperated by the fact that a lot of the sections in this bill are redundant with existing laws. May I speak only about those I sincerely and categorically know about.
SEC. 15. Employers' Responsibilities. - The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) shall ensure that employers respect the reproductive rights of workers and their right to gender equality.
Employers shall also uphold the right of all workers to know work conditions which may affect their health, particularly those related to their reproductive health. Employers shall furnish in writing the following information to all employees and applicants:
(a) The medical and health benefits which workers are entitled to, including maternity and paternity leave benefits; and
(b) The reproductive health hazards associated with work, including hazards that may affect their reproductive functions especially for pregnant women.
If Section 15 does not exist yet, I will sue my company for an amount equivalent to my salary times the number of months I have been with them. But I can't because these things are already in effect. Mama Mia!
SEC. 17. Duties and Responsibilities…
(e) Corporate citizens shall exercise prudence in advertising its products or services through all forms of media, especially on matters relating to sexuality, further taking into consideration its influence on children and the youth.
Do we need a new law for this? Seriously? Well, if we're dealing with Mr. Willie Revillame, maybe. But heck, do we need the RH Law to finally put Revillame out of business?
SEC. 21. Appropriations. - The amounts appropriated in the current annual General Appropriations Act (GAA) for reproductive health and natural and artificial family planning under the DOH and POPCOM and other concerned agencies shall be allocated and utilized for the implementation of this Act. Such additional sums necessary to provide for the upgrading of facilities necessary to meet BEMONC and CEMONC standards; the training and deployment of skilled health providers; natural and artificial family planning commodity requirements as outlined in Sec. 10, and for other 20 reproductive health services, shall be included in the subsequent years' general appropriations. The Gender and Development (GAD) funds of LGUs and national agencies shall be a source of funding for the implementation of this Act.
Bingo! So there is an existing "annual General Appropriations Act (GAA) for reproductive health and natural and artificial family planning under the DOH and POPCOM." Then what are we still debating on here?
GAD fund is mandated to be 5% of LGU's total appropriation. And GAD budget supports "personal services, for example, the salaries of workers directly engaged in GAD programs, project and activities; maintenance and other Operating Expenses for the cost of managing a women’s shelter, a women’s health project, training of women in non-traditional occupations, and training of field workers in GAD, among others; and capital outlay such as building of and providing equipment for women’s shelters and training centers for women."
This is all under Executive Order 273, which approved and adopted the Philippine Plan for Gender-Responsive Development (PPGD) – 1995-2025.
Can we not just make do with an existing law, we need to create new ones? Can't we simply add flesh to it? Or give more meaning to it? Do we have too much time in our hands to debate? Too much budget surplus for coffee and bottled water and pancit canton and empanada in the Senate during sponsorship speeches?
And if pro-RH Bill folks are so hell-bent in protecting women and children, then instead of RH, let's focus on the Divorce Bill which makes more, so much more sense. But of course, that's going to be another war waged against the Catholic Church.