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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Hontiveros to Push for Package of Health and Women Bills in Senate’s 2nd Regular Session


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To build on the success of the passage of her three maiden bills, upon the opening of Congress, Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros vowed to push for a new set of legislative measures aimed at addressing key health and women’s concerns.


“Strengthened Anti-Hospital Detention Law"

As a follow up to the successful passage of her strengthened Anti-Hospital Deposit Bill, Hontiveros is set to file a bill to enhance Republic Act 9439 otherwise known as the Anti-Hospital Detention Law. The current law prohibits health facilities from detaining patients who have fully or partially recovered due to non-payment in full or in part of hospital bills. However, Hontiveros said that there is a need to strengthen its implementation as there are numerous documented violations of the said measure.

"Ang hospital ay lugar ng gamutan, hindi kulungan," Hontiveros asserted.


“Bibong BHW Bill”

The Senator, who is the Vice-Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health, will also push for the passage of Senate Bill 214 or the Bibong BHW Act of 2016. The measure aims to create a training program for all Barangay Health Workers (BHW) to ensure that their skills in primary health care remain up to date. The Bill also proposes that all BHW’s be entitled to a monthly allowance with additional incentives covered under the Magna Carta for Health Workers, including such benefits as PAG-IBIG, GSIS and PhilHealth coverage.

To improve government support for the nutrition of infants in their first 1000 days of life, Hontiveros will also push for the passage of Senate Bill No. 1145 or the Healthy Bulilit Act. She said that various health experts have identified a child’s first 1,000 days as a “golden window” for development, with effects ranging from the potential to prevent stunted growth and the opportunity to improve cognitive development.



Bills on women’s rights and equality

Meanwhile, Hontiveros emphasized two proposed bills in the area of women’s rights and gender equality.

The Safe Streets and Public Spaces Act, or Senate Bill No. 1326, penalizes gender-based harassment in public spaces. This pertains specifically to wolf-whistling, cat-calling leering, homophobic and transphobic slurs, and persistent requests for a woman’s name and contact details. On the other hand, the Anti-Discrimination Bill (ADB) criminalizes discrimination against members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Trans-Gender (LGBT) community, specifically the restriction of access to public health services, employment and education on the basis of ones gender and Sexual Orientation and Gender Orientation or SOGIE.

"Despite the challenges presented by the political conjuncture, we will sustain the momentum of pursuing reforms in the health, women and gender struggles," Hontiveros ended.

In the Senate’s First Regular Session, Hontiveros successfully pushed for the passage of the Strengthened Anti-Hospital Deposit Law, 120-day Expanded Maternity Leave Bill and the Mental Health Act.

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