MANILA, Dec. 12, 2011—Nearly 10,000 people trooped to the Quirino Grandstand yesterday to take part in a prayer rally to reiterate the strong opposition to anti-life legislation, specifically the reproductive health (RH) and “anti-discrimination” bills.
Organized by several pro-life groups like Pro-Life Philippines, Human Life International (HLI) and Soldiers of Christ Catholic Charismatic Healing Ministry, the event – dubbed “Save the World Thru Divine Power: National Marian Pilgrimage for Life! No to RH Bill! No to Same-Sex Unions!” – featured life and family advocates, lawmakers, pro-life workers as well as members of the Charismatic ministry who shared their stories of healing and transformation.
Senate Majority Floor Leader Vicente Sotto III, one of several members of the Upper House who have been carefully examining the measure and interpellating the bill’s sponsors, summed up his message to the crowd thus: “Isa lang ang mensahe ko sa inyo. Maliwanag na maliwanag – ang mahalaga [ay] buhay, hindi hanapbuhay.”
“Lahat ng gustong gawin nito sa RH bill ay nandoon na sa programa ng Department of Health, sa [agencies for the welfare of] women… nasa Child Welfare Code. Palagi nating ipinaglalaban ang karapatan ng kababaihan, ang karapatan ng bata. Bakit kailangang ulitin nila dito [sa RH bill] (We are always fighting for the rights of women, the rights of the child Why must they repeat it in the RH bill)?” Sotto asked.
“Ang makikinabang dito ay mga nagbebenta ng mga condom, mga contraceptives…at nagsusulong ng population control (Those will benefit from this are the ones selling condoms, contraceptives…and those promoting population control),” he added.
The senator did not end his speech without telling the thousands of pro-lifers about coming across a report of former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan stating – after accepting an award from an international women’s group – the way to deal with states in which abortion is unlawful: “According to Kofi Annan, para daw ma-accept ang abortion, tawagin daw ‘reproductive health.’”
Representative Amado Bagatsing (Manila, 5th district), on the other hand, observed that the State has been interfering in religion, based on the way things have been going at the House of Representatives.
“Bakit ba ang Kongreso nakikialam sa mga relihiyon? Bakit, samantalang sa Saligang Batas maraming probisyong nagsasabing may karapatan ang bawat isa sa kaniyang relihiyon. Ang malungkot, mga kapatid, ang pinangungunahan na pakialaman ngayon ay ang ang relihiyon nating lahat na mga Katoliko. We are legislating, in this particular case, against our religion,” Bagatsing lamented.
He pointed out that while the laws of man can be amended, not the same can be said of the word of God.
“Ang batas ng tao… depende kung sino ang nakaupo, ‘yun ang masusunod. Ngunit ang atin pong relihiyon hindi nagbago sa loob ng dalawang libong taon. Ngayon lang po… nais nilang amyendahan ang ating paniniwala,” the legislator said.
This should serve as a warning to people of all religions, he pointed out. If we allow anti-life legislation to advance, “wala na pong saysay ang sinasabi ng Saligang Batas na ‘freedom of religion.’ [Ngunit] ako’y naniniwala, sa bandang huli pagdating ng showdown sa Kamara del Representante, kami po sa tulong ninyo sa pamamagitan ng mga dasal… we shall prevail over the RH bill.”
Sunday’s prayer rally was the culmination of a seven-day nationwide pilgrimage that started in Davao City and passed through convergence points in Mindanao and the Visayas such as Butuan, Surigao, Tacloban, Catbalogan, Calbayog City, Matnog and Lipa City.
The pilgrims brought with them images of the Blessed Mother and rode on decorated floats which were paraded as they reached the Quirino Grandstand from their last stop in Lipa, Batangas.
Other speakers at the prayer rally were Congresswomen Mitos Magsaysay (Zambales, 1st district) and Fatima Aliah Dimaporo (Lanao del Norte, 2nd district); former Senator Francisco Tatad; HLI Asia and Oceania Executive Director Dr. Ligaya Acosta; HLI Pilipinas Director Rene Bullecer, M.D.; Francisca Regancia and Lydia Salazar of Soldiers of Christ; Pro-Life Philippines president Eric Manalang; Lito David of Pro-Life Philippines and Ang Kapatiran Party; and Dr. Primitivo Chua, former president of the Philippine Medical Association.
The program was emceed by David and Pro-Life Philippines Executive Director Lorna Melegrito. (CBCP for Life)
More photos HERE