Atty. Aurora A. Santiago
Duc in Altum
The Walk for Life initiated by the Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas (or LAIKO), headed by its president Mrs. Zenaida Capistrano, was a huge success. The turn-out of participants was beyond expectation. The number of those who registered reached 20,300 as of Friday, and still counting. More than that number came and showed their commitment to support the culture of life, not the culture of death.
Instead of two rounds of walk from the parade grounds of Quirino Grandstand to North Drive (in front of Manila Hotel) to Roxas Boulevard to South Drive (in front of former Army Navy Club) back to parade grounds, only one round of walk was done. The head of the Walkers for Life (LAIKO Board and Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila) already reached the starting point but still tens of thousands of participants were still waiting for their turn to walk.
Participants came from different Archdioceses and Dioceses as far as Bontoc-Lagawen from Northern Luzon and Legazpi from Southern Luzon – Diocesan Councils of the Laity, Parish Pastoral Councils, Diocesan and National Organizations, Renewal Movements, Trans-parochial Organizations and Catholic Schools.
Walk for Life was first envisioned by LAIKO as an invitation to its members only–Diocesan and Lay Organization members, however, words get around and many groups signified their intention to join, to the point that the LAIKO staff cannot accommodate anymore those who wish to register. Thus, the decision to do away with the registration and stickers, until it was finally decided to welcome everybody who respect life.
In her welcome speech, LAIKO President Capistrano thanked everyone for joining the Walk for Life. Their presence showed their commitment to protect life; that God is the one who grant life and it is only God, at the right time, who has the right to take it away.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan and President of Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) stated that Walk for Life was not initiated by the bishops. It was initiated by LAIKO, he then thanked LAIKO.
e said that Walk for Life is neither a rally nor a demonstration. It is a show of faith for the sanctity of life of every person, the life which came from God; that Walk for Life is a Walk for God.
Archbishop Soc also told the participants the A,B,C,D,E which should be stopped: Abortion, Blasphemy, Corruption, Drugs and Execution. He encouraged the audience not to be afraid even in the face of death threats. “Face them and show your strength. God is with us and they cannot threaten us.”
His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle advised the participants to take “active non-violence” position. Non-violence is not passive; it is active non-violence. Violence cannot be stopped by another violence, otherwise, violence is being proliferated. “Lakas hindi dahas” (Strength not violence). It is an act of compassion and love; be humble.”
Our very own Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of the Diocese of Kalookan said that his Diocese joined the Walk for Life because they believed in protection of life. He mentioned that the Diocese is in the midst of doing Task Force Salubong where drug users who surrendered to the authorities are being rehabilitated, together with their families. “Salubong” was coined after the prodigal son who repented for the wrong he did and decided to come home to his father. The father welcome home his son with open arms. It is in the same manner that hope must given to illegal substance users who want to come back and be productive members of the community. “Salubong” was also coined after the Filipino ritual during Easter when everyone awaits the removal by the child-angel of the black veil covering the face of Mother Mary. It is the black veil that covers the drug dependents.
Bishop Ambo mentioned several anti-life messages – environmental abuse is anti-life; total war is anti-life; capital punishment is anti-life; no to abortion; no to drugs; no to extra judicial killings; no to total war in Mindanao; no to total war against communist rebels; yes to the resumption of peace talks; yes to environmental protection; yes to rehabilitation of drug addicts; yes to war against poverty; no to culture of death; yes to culture of life.
Bishop Broderick Pabillo thanked everyone for coming. He cautioned everyone that the watch is not only against the restoration of death penalty but also against the lowering of age of criminal liability to nine years old. Those children are still innocent; they are young and vulnerable. Parents should likewise be vigilant in monitoring what their children are doing. What should be done is the improve the judicial system. Finally, he encouraged everyone “to post in Facebook what happened today in the Walk for Life.”
Bontoc-Lagawe Bishop Valentin Dimoc came down from the mountains together with indigenous people from Mountain Province and Ifugao Province to show their solidarity with the people of Metro Manila in their campaign against the culture of death. They are in solidarity with the people of Metro Manila.
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