by Ben Rosario
The leadership of the House of Representatives has placed the controversial proposal for the legalization of “same sex” civil union on the list of priorities in the mid-term of the 17th Congress. This time, the bill will cover live-in heterosexual couples who do not want to get legallly hitched.
In a press conference, Deputy Speaker and Cebu City Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia said the leadership wanted to “address the changing realities of our times.” Thus, it will present a measure that would allow either same sex or heterosexual couples to enjoy same benefits as legally married couples such as joint ownership of properties and adoption of children, he said.
“The reality of our times is that there are heterosexuals who want to stay unmarried and will live together,” said Garcia.
Garcia, together with Deputy Speaker and Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro and Quirino Rep. Dax Cua, said the House will also prioritize the proposed P10 billion supplemental budget to rebuild Marawi City; the 2018 national budget, Charter change and the simplified income tax bill.
Both Castro and Garcia said the House will also place in priority the proposed postponement of the October, 2017 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.
Castro assured the public that all priority legislative proposals will undergo similar scrutiny as the other bills, adding that all concerned sectors will be consulted, especially the proposed civil union bill.
Although no such bill has been filed yet, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has vowed to file the bill after conducting a thorough study of the provisions.
Previously, Alvarez said he intended to file a bill for the ‘same sex civil union.’
However, Garcia said what will be presented for approval by the Lower House is a bill that would cover heterosexual couples.
Commenting on the proposal, the three House leaders agreed that the Catholic church and other religious sects were expected to oppose the measure.
Castro said he would support the bill so long as it will not clash with the constitutional provisions that strengthen the family and the institution of marriage.
Meanwhile, the administration congressmen noted that under the leadership of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez the Lower House legislative accomplishments rank one of the highest, if not the highest, on the first leg of the current Congress.
Garcia said a total of 210 bills of national and local significance were passed b y the Lower House during the 97 sessions held in the First Regular Session of the 17th Congress.
Factoring in the measures under calendar of business, those consolidated or substituted, as well as referral of resolutions on inquiries, the House processed a total of 1247 measures during the total 97 session days. That’s equivalent to 13 measures processed per day, the Cebu solon said.