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Hontiveros vows to keep campaign promise of prioritizing health bills

MANILA, Jan. 3 (PNA) -- Sen. Risa Hontiveros has vowed to keep her campaign promise of pushing for the passage of a measure meant to stop the practice of hospitals asking for advance payment before admitting patients in emergency situation among other health bills.

Hontiveros, chair of the Senate Committee on Health, earlier filed Senate Bill No. 216 or the Amendments to the Anti-Hospital Deposit Act that seek heavier penalties on hospitals that continue to violate the law while providing tax incentives to those that will admit indigent or poor patients in cases of emergency.

She said the Senate is set to conduct another hearing on the issue, submit the bill to the technical working group (TWG) and release a committee report as soon as possible as the Senate resumes sessions on January 16.

"The Anti-hospital deposit bill is part of my priority legislative bills this new year. We cannot allow the lives and health well-being of our people to be sacrificed any longer in the name of profit," Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros, who also chairs the Senate Committee on Women, said that she will also be pushing for longer maternity leave for women this year.

Under Senate Bill No. 215 or the Extended Maternity Leave Act, Hontiveros seeks to extend the maternity leaves of working women from the current 60 days to 120 days and 150 days for solo mothers.

The neophyte senator said that her committee is already in the process of preparing its committee report on the different versions of the bill.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier expressed support for a longer maternity leave saying mothers should have a longer rest period to give them more time to breastfeed their babies.

Hontiveros also vowed to push Senate Bill No. 935 or the Anti-Discrimination Bill which she filed to penalize discrimination against sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) in schools and workplaces, and offer equal protection to members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

At present, the bill has already made its way to the plenary and is ready for second reading.

LGBT advocates have said that Hontiveros' proposed measure is the first anti-discrimination bill to reach the Senate plenary. (PNA)

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