MANILA, Philippines—Officials and the parishioners of the Quiapo church are gearing up for a big rally on Friday to protest the unrelenting illegal trade of abortion pills in the vicinity.
Msgr. Jose Clemente Ignacio, rector of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, on Monday said the rally was in response to authorities’ insufficient action against the illegal Cytotec (abortion pill) trade in Quiapo.
Ignacio recounted that he earlier received a text message from the police reporting that authorities had apprehended two vendors selling Cytotec, and had subsequently cleared the area of others suspected of vending the tablets.
“I said I was not satisfied … they need to capture all distributors, all suppliers and close down all abortion clinics in Quiapo,” Ignacio told reporters in an interview.
Ignacio said parishioners and devotees of the Black Nazarene have decided to mobilize a rally on Friday to express their outrage on the continuing Cytotec trade in Quiapo despite repeated calls for authorities to act on the problem.
The protesters will march to the Manila City Hall following the rally and submit a manifesto to Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, which stresses the need for a functional anti-Cytotec trade task force and the creation of a city ordinance placing stiffer penalties on violators, said the priest.
He said the “fully functional” task force was expected to focus on going after vendors, suppliers, buyers and coddlers to stop the illegal trade.
The arrest of Cytotec suppliers, distributors, protectors and abortionists in Quiapo will also be included in the manifesto, Ignacio added.
To drumbeat its protest, officials of Quiapo church have also mounted tarpaulins outside the parish to denounce the Cytotec trade and abortion.
“It’s the first time in the history of Quiapo church that large tarpaulins are [mounted] on walls of the church and a march to be done to the Mayor’s Office,” according to the rector.
Six tablets of the abortion-inducing drug are being sold in Quiapo for P1,200, according to church officials. They also suspected that the trade involving such drug was syndicated.
From the suppliers, the drugs go to many distribution channels mainly in Quiapo and various areas. Deliveries, meanwhile, are dropped off to distributors, who stock them in storage sites also in the district. Retailers operate by clusters and sell the drugs to passersby, Ignacio said.