OpinionWed Apr 17, 2013 - 3:07 pm EST
Estimated 500,000 Filipinos gather to support pro-life/pro-family candidates at mammoth prayer rally
April 17, 2013 (HLIWorldWatch.org) - Over 40 Catholic lay organizations, led by the influential El Shaddai charismatic leader Brother Mike Velarde, launched a new movement for the protection of life and family this past Saturday in preparation for the May 2013 elections in the Philippines. After legislators finally caved in to pressure from our president and Western NGOs to pass the anti-life Reproductive Health (RH) Bill, the Filipino people are coming together to make sure that candidates promoting and defending life, faith and family will be elected this May.
Media sources estimated that 500,000 people attended the rally in Paranaque City on April 13 to show support for six pro-life candidates who actively fought against the RH Bill (Rep. Joseph Victor Ejercito, Sen. Gregorio Honasan, Rep. Mitos Magsaysay, Sen. Koko Pimentel, Sen. Antonio Trillanes and former congressman Cynthia Villar) and pledge to only support candidates against the RH Bill, which was signed into law by President Aquino last December. Four more candidates are expected to be endorsed in the near future. All endorsed candidates have pledged in writing that they will continue to promote legislation that is pro-God, pro-life and pro-family.
As with political movements in other countries, we use colors to show political allegiance in the Philippines. During the RH Bill debates, the color red was used by pro-life supporters, and the color purple was donned by RH Bill advocates. This new political movement in the Philippines will be represented by the color white. The color white was chosen because white symbolizes purity, innocence, unity, solidarity, a new beginning, a clean slate and a fresh start. Also, white was chosen because the group is endorsing candidates crossing party lines and thus of different colors. As we know from the way light refracts through prisms, the color white contains all other colors.
The Movement was initiated by the Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas (LAIKO), formerly Council of the Laity of the Philippines, in response to perceived mounting sentiment among different lay groups in the country regarding the lay faithful’s role in preserving core family values.
I was asked to address the crowd on Saturday along with several other leaders of lay movements in the Philippines. The May 2013 election is very crucial for the Philippines because in the coming congressional session we are sure to grapple with legislation concerning divorce, same-sex “marriage” and even euthanasia – which there is a big push to legalize now.
With a predominantly Catholic population in the Philippines, the Movement plans to reach out to families on the issues of life, faith and family to forge a voting bloc that will elect candidates who best represent the values of the Filipino people. As the movement’s promotional video states, “Let us remember not just the campaign ads, let us remember our faith. Let us vote to protect the family and to protect life.”
Dr. Ligaya A. Acosta resides in the Philippines and is the regional coordinator for Asia and Oceania at Human Life International.