Thursday, May 02, 2013

Of grateful hearts and long-time allies

On May 13 -- that's less than two weeks from the time I'm writing this -- Filipinos will troop to the poll centers to elect their national and local leaders. That things have become more heated than I expected is an understatement. But today there is reason to be elated, for an invitation to set aside differences and to unite as a truly pro-life force has been extended. Now would anyone with authentically life-affirming aspirations for the nation and its people brush aside such a unifying invitation? It is much like a neon sign that flashes "hope".

Atty. Marwil Llasos, a senatorial candidate running under the Ang Kapatiran Party, expressed his call for unity days after accepting an endorsement by the White Vote Movement (WVM). In the message he wrote on his blog, it was apparent that a servant's heart and a general docility were at work, thereby his expressing gratitude for the endorsement and extending the invitation for all working for the cause of life to "put aside for the moment whatever little differences we have and focus instead on the remaining days of the campaign."

Llasos also said that he did not actively seek the WVM endorsement "simply because I do not really actively seek the endorsement of any group. I respect the freedom of the discernment process of each group."

"Contrary to the inaccurate and confusing reports," he added, "I am not declining the WVM [endorsement]. I owe it to my supporters and to the causes that I espouse to accept the endorsement of WVM with a grateful heart."

Read his entire message here

While the lawyer demonstrated hints of statesmanship and a quiet docility even before his candidacy sees fruition, others who have spent years in the political arena are also busy making the rounds of the campaign trail. Among them is former Congresswoman Mitos Magsaysay, who had been Zambales Representative for several terms and was quite involved in formulating legislative measures and working with the rest of the pro-life solons for
legislation promoting respect for life, family, and women's welfare, among other vital issues.

Notwithstanding her participation in several public debates on the controversial Reproductive Health bill, she made sure she empowered school- and community-based audiences by speaking to them about the folly of the measure. I was fortunate to attend several of such speaking engagements, in which part of her message was often the fact that the citizens are stakeholders in the matter and have every right to influence the direction of legislation. "May karapatan kayong makialam," was among the reminders she would tell the people.

Personally, I am reassured by the presence of Mitos Magsaysay in the legislature because while many other government officials (current and aspiring) claim to be pro-women, it is in her that I find an authentic concern for women. She is one of the authors of the Magna Carta of Women (MCW) -- signed into law in 2009 -- and has repeatedly called on government to do what must be done for the measure to be implemented. Further, she acknowledges the shortcomings of the government when it comes to implementation of laws.

Here's an excerpt from an article about one of the senatorial candidate's talks given in 2011:
Marami pong nagbubuntis sa distrito ko pero hindi ko sila kailangang bigyan ng contraceptives. They undergo tests, are examined by doctors just to make sure that theirs will be safe pregnancies,” she related, adding that vitamins and other nutritional supplements are provided to pregnant women by her office for free; smooth transactions at the hospital come delivery time are also ensured via PhilHealth cards also provided to the women by the solon’s office.

The congresswoman from Zambales likewise mentioned procuring necessary medical equipment for the health centers in her district as part of the program.

“That’s where good governance comes into play…kasi kapag hindi mo inilaan sa tamang programa ang pondo mo, kahit na ano pang batas ang gagawin natin sa Kongreso, hindi din po ‘yan magiging successful. Wala silang magagawa sa implementation,” the solon said.

Read the whole thing here

Another ally that has for years been in the crusade to keep pro-life legislation alive is Buhay Party list, that which has seen solons such as Rene Velarde, Michael Velarde, Carissa Coscolluela, Hans Christian Seneres and Irwin Tieng representing it. It was organized in 1999 by then-Manila mayor Lito Atienza -- himself one of the partylist's nominees for this term -- and Mel Robles, after which the two sought out El Shaddai servant leader Mike Velarde and requested him to lead the Buhay party list advocacy.

I only recently learned of the party list's record in the elections through the years since 2001, when it first won two seats in the House of Representatives: in the 2001 elections it ranked 12th; in 2004 it ranked 4th; in 2007 it was the number 1 party list! In the 2010 elections it placed 3rd. 

Through the years Buhay has been making sure that anti-life legislation is kept at bay, and the sanctity of human life is upheld, the rights of individuals are respected, that care for the elderly, the sick and disabled are given due attention so that laws are responsive to their needs, too. "Maka-Diyos, maka-tao, maka-kalikasan, maka-bansa," it says on the brochure I have which details the party list's principles and programs of government. 

What bills/laws have the party list filed and passed in the past Congresses? Find out here

When it's people and groups like these working together to uphold a culture of life by way of legislation and governance, I see words like "hope," "success" and "thank God" flashing in neon signs. There is definitely hope for our nation, no matter how long and arduous the path will be!

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