Anti-RH bill groups hold rally at EDSA

Posted at 08/04/12 4:31 PM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – Heeding the call of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), thousands of Catholics braved the rains Saturday afternoon to attend the massive prayer rally against the Reproductive Health (RH) bill.

Most of the attendees consider it their personal mission to oppose the passage of the controversial measure.

The Eastern Police District said around 10,000 people attended the rally.

Protesters hope that the strong showing as well as the prayers of the people would enlighten legislators on Tuesday when Congress decides whether or not the bill should move beyond the plenary debates.

The Church is firm in its belief that the RH Bill is not the solution to poverty but the prioritization of education and other projects.

Aside from Church leaders, Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Tito Sotto and Gregorio Honasan attended the rally, which ended at around 7 p.m.

Other pro-life groups are planning similar demonstrations in front of Congress on Tuesday.

Malacañang, meanwhile, leaves it up to lawmakers if they will be swayed by Saturday's rally against the controversial bill.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte earlier said President Benigno Aquino III had made it clear that he is pro-life because he is against abortion.

But Valte did not say if the Palace will seek another dialogue with church leaders.

Red shirt

Most of the protesters who attended the rally wore red shirts.

According to Fr. Melvin Castro of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, red symbolizes the blood of “innocent babies” killed by contraception and mothers who die due to pregnancy complications.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle, meanwhile, said children are not the problem but rather blessings from the Lord.

Muslim support

Several Muslims also attended the prayer rally to show their protest against the RH Bill.

Rajah Sulayman Lumbaranao was among the groups who were present.

According to their president Abdel Sarandatu, they joined the rally because they are also against the use of contraceptives.

About a thousand Muslim delegates joined the rally. -- Reports from Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News; Dexter Ganibe and Robert Mano, dzMM; ANC