Press Release
March 2, 2017


Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros today said that she remains undeterred in championing universal healthcare, democracy and human rights despite the recent Senate reorganization.

Speaking before a group of health advocates and professionals in Cagayan de Oro, Hontiveros stressed that the re-shuffling of committees would have no effect on her priority bills and advocacies in the Senate.

Hontiveros said that when she decided to concede the chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Health and move to the minority, it was due to the old majority's failure to live up to its promise to push for a strong and independent senate. She said that it was a principled decision.

"Despite the recent developments affecting the Senate, this did not dampen my determination in championing the people's right to health, particularly universal healthcare. Mapa-majority man ako o minority, tuloy ang trabaho, tuloy ang laban para sa kalusugang pangkalahatan," Hontiveros said.

It was reported that Senator JV Ejercito, the newly appointed Chair of the Committee on Health, invited Hontiveros to co-chair the said committee. "I accepted the offer of Senator Ejercito to co-Chair the Senate Committee on Health while remaining in the minority bloc. I believe the struggle for the complete realization of universal healthcare for our people is beyond political parties and the majority-minority divide," she said.

Hontiveros has authored several proposed measures in the area of public health. Her flagship bills are the Mental Health Act of 2016, or Senate Bill 1190, the Expanded Maternity Leave Bill, or Senate Bill Number 215, and The Anti-Hospital Deposit Law.

"Good science has recognized that mental health is serious and real, and deserves just as much attention as our physical well-being. The Expanded Maternity Leave Bill addresses the need of all expectant mothers and families for the best available care during pregnancy. It allows fathers and alternative caregivers more time to be with their wives and partners during pregnancy, and puts the nation in step with internationally recognized standards for maternal care. Finally, the Anti-Hospital Deposit Bill tries to ensure that no one will be denied treatment and support that could prevent their death or permanent disability," Hontiveros explained.

In addition to serving as co-chair of the Committee on Health and Demography, Hontiveros is also the Chairperson of the Committee on Women and Gender Equality.

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