We have been fighting the “reproductive health” (RH) agenda in the Philippines since its inception in 1994. What eventually became the “RH Bill” was first introduced in our country in 1998 as the “Population and Development Bill,” and from the day of its introduction until this week with the vote on December 12, 2012, we had been successful in stopping its passage. Although that vote did not go the way pro-life Filipinos wanted, we are not ready to concede.
More than 60 congressmen were absent from the House vote on Wednesday. Most of them were assumed to be in the anti-RH Bill camp. The final tally of the vote (113 in favor, 104 against and 3 abstentions) showed that we lost by just nine votes.
I was very dismayed by the absence of congressmen on the House floor who were physically present in the building. Where were they? Why were they not there during that very memorable day? It may be that they were pressured by President Aquino. They should come forth and explain their absence.
In the Senate, we need 13 senators who care about the protection of life and the family, and the future of our country to vote against the RH Bill. It is difficult to say at present if that many are willing to stand against the RH agenda and with the Filipino people, but there’s always hope and we are reaching out to friends there now in this moment of need.
Though the power, the money and the influence may be stacked against us, we refuse to bow down and surrender. There is still the third and final reading of the bill in the House on December 17, there is still the Senate vote, and if these two fail, there remains the Supreme Court, which can rule that the bill violates pro-life and pro-family provisions of our constitution. And if worse comes to worst, as former Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President Bishop Nerius Odchimar said, “Civil disobedience is still an option.”
We will never surrender the future of our nation to the kind of morally debased, crumbling societies sadly seen in many Western nations today.
I’m optimistic that God will show His power and divine influence even if the bill is passed to show President Aquino that signing this bill into law is not in the best interest of the Philippines. I expect a miracle!
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May Saint Lucy intercede to open the eyes of the dozens of congressmen who were absent during the vote, and may the Lord give them the courage to vote for life and family and against the RH Bill.
God bless the Philippines.