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The year 2019 saw the passage of landmark laws for women’s rights and better health services, Senator Risa Hontiveros said on Friday.

The Senate adjourned its session for the holidays. It will resume session on January 20, 2020.

“Marami man ang naging hamon, mas maraming batas ang napagtagumpayan para sa kababaihan at sa kalusugan,” Hontiveros said.

In 2019, during the tail-end of the 17th Congress, Hontiveros said she helped pass 8 new “landmark” laws.

As chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women, Hontiveros ushered the passage of the Expanded Maternity Leave Law or Republic Act No. 11210 which expanded working Filipinas’ paid maternity leave from the original 60 days to 105 days.

“It is now the policy of the State to give mothers our due. Mas makakapagpahinga mula sa panganganak, mas maaalagaan si baby,” she said.

In July this year, the Senate passed the Bawal Bastos Law or the Safe Streets and Public Spaces Act or RA 11313 which penalizes gender-based harassment and abuse in public spaces.

“2019 is the year we say goodbye to ‘boy bastos,’” said Hontiveros, who served as the law’s principal author and sponsor.

This year also saw the passage of the Universal Healthcare Act or RA 11223, signed by President Duterte in February. The measure institutionalizes universal healthcare coverage for all Filipinos.

“Ang mga Pinoy hindi dapat namumulubi kung may sakit,” said Hontiveros, who co-authored and co-sponsored the measure with former senator JV Ejercito.

“The law will primarily close the gaps in the health service delivery in the country. Ngayon, lahat na may PhilHealth, may kayang magpatingin sa doktor, at mas mura ang pagpapagamot”, she also added.

Some of the laws authored by Hontiveros that passed this year are the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) Act (RA 11310), the act on mandatory PhilHealth coverage for persons with disabilities (RA 11228), the Special Protection of Children in Situations of Armed Conflict Act (RA 11188), the Simulated Birth Rectification Act (RA 11222), and the Speech Language Pathology Act (RA 11249).

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