By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The House of Representatives is inching toward passing the Expanded Maternity Leave Bill after Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has directed the plenary debates of the pro-women measure.
Bagong Henerasyon party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy, chairperson of the House committee on women and gender equality, disclosed that she asked Arroyo’s assistance to have the pro-women measure approved before they go on a legislative break on August 16.
“She said we can have it scheduled in the floor na to be deliberated again,” she said in an interview.
The House leadership’s assurance was made as over 100 women workers and representatives of advocacy groups, led by Gabriela Rep. Emmi de Jesus is set to sign a manifesto on August 11 to demand for the long overdue passage of House Bill 4113. The bill has been pending at the House of Representatives on second reading for more than a year now.
“It is part of the agenda already. It will be passed hopefully soon,” Herrera-Dy said.
She earlier expressed confidence that the passage of the Expanded Maternity Leave Bill and other pro-women measures will be prioritized under the Speaker’s leadership
“I sincerely hope so that under Speaker Arroyo, the passage of pro-women bills will be prioritized. I am quite confident actually that these measures like the Expanded Maternity Leave Bill will be approved,” she said.
She said the Expanded Maternity Leave Bill has been submitted to the House committee on rules and is scheduled to be approved on second reading by the House plenary.
The House bill proposes 100-day maternity leave with 30-day extension without pay for working pregnant women in public and private sectors. It was principally authored by DIWA party-list Rep. Emmeline Aglipay-Villar.
Last year, the Senate unanimously passed on third and final reading the 120-Day Expanded Maternity Leave Bill.
Current laws only allow a maternity leave of 60 days for government employees and 60 to 78 days for those in the private sector, depending on the mode of delivery.