Manila, Philippines - More than 5 thousand Catholics, Protestant and Muslim Filipinos demonstrated yesterday in Pasay City (Manila) against the law on reproductive health and to show their support for life. The event was well attended by Catholic priests and religious leaders, including many politicians involved in the ongoing debate in parliament for the approval of the law.
"We are with you for life," said Fatima Aliah Dimaporo, a Muslim and head of the district of Lanao del Norte (Mindanao). Speaking to the crowd, the woman denounced the promotion of contraceptives and family planning in all schools and hospitals in the country. Dimaporo stressed that the law is a risk to the health of women and does not solve the problem of poverty. According to Eric Manalang event organizer and president of Pro-Life Philippines, said the presence of Muslims and Protestants shows that "the appeal against the draft law on reproductive health is not supported only by Catholics but by all those who are against abortion and family planning”. The activist denounces the ambiguous position of President Aquino, who after talks with the bishops had declared his intention to cancel the current bill, and then backed down.
Meanwhile today, the feast of St. Valentine, the supporters of the law have been distributing free condoms and contraceptives in the slums of Manila. The act takes place every year and aims to rally support in districts where the number of illegal abortions is highest.
The debate on Reproductive Health has been ongoing for four years. The law rejects abortion clinics, but promotes a family planning program, urging couples to have no more than two children, penalizes the conscientious objection of doctors and health professionals, and promotes voluntary sterilization. The Catholic Church and associations argue instead in favour of the Natural Family Programme (NFP), which aims to spread a culture of responsibility and love based on Christian values among the population.