Walk for Life 2018 calls for protection of life amid looming Cha-cha
Thousands of Catholics will gather at the Quirino Grandstand next week, not only to call for an end to the killings, but to protect the sacredness of life in the attempts to change the 1987 Constitution.
This is as the Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas (SLP) urged the faithful and even those belonging to other religions to join their “Walk for Life” on February 24, and uphold the dignity of life.
SLP president Dr. Julieta Wasan said members of the Catholic laity are concerned over the attempts of administration lawmakers to amend the Constitution for a federal form of government.
“We are especially concerned about Charter change, as we all know that our everyday lives depend on this and the generations of Filipinos to come,” she said on Monday.
She added that Charter change is not the solution to rid the country of abusive and manipulative officials who take advantage of Filipinos.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo agreed, stressing that amendments to the 1987 Constitution should still ensure the sacredness and dignity of life.
“We want to emphasize the value of life. We believe that the Constitution now has a pro-life element. We hope that this will not be removed, but rather strengthened,” he said.
The two made the remarks at a press briefing organized by the SLP, the laity arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ Episcopal Commission on the Laity.
Organizers are hopeful that this year’s Walk for Life will attract at least 20,000 Catholics, or twice the number of attendees they had in 2017.
Last year’s prayer rally was touted as a show of force against the spate of alleged extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration’s bloody war against illegal drugs.
There will be simultaneous Walk for Life prayer rallies all over the country: from Fuente Osmeña Circle to Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral in Cebu City; Gaston Park in Cagayan de Oro City; Tarlac City Plazuela in Tarlac City; and from the San Pablo City Cathedral to Dagatan Boulevard, Sampaloc Lake in San Pablo City in Laguna.
The call to stop the killings and the demand for accountability is still one of the key appeals of the prayer rally on February 24.
The Walk for Life will begin at 4 a.m. at the Quirino Grandstand, where Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle is expected to preside over a Mass.
Pabillo said the prayer rally will be a continuing effort for years to come, as issues on the value of life are still present.
He cited the bloody war against illegal drugs and the worsening substance addiction, the death penalty bill, environmental degradation, contractualization, the promotion of reproductive health, the exploitation of the Lumad tribe, and martial law in Mindanao.
Pabillo added that a culture of violence, not only through actions but through speech, is being encouraged today as well.
“These issues concerning life are still present, so there must be a continuous effort to make people more conscious and stand up for life. Not just Catholics, but people who stand up for life,” he said.
In a statement, the SLP and Pabillo said the Walk for Life is also for every Filipino who has been a victim of the culture of death.
“We cannot accept being governed by laws and policies that deceive and were crafted based on manipulated facts. We cannot agree with the premise that solutions to our social problems require that some of us should die,” they said.
They added that they would walk “not only to condemn the wrong that is being done, but also to pray that the hearts of those who pursue such wrongs may be touched and softened by our collective action.”
Wasan stressed their prayer rally is meant to serve as a wake-up call to Filipinos to stand up for themselves.
“It is meant to jolt us awake. I believe that all Filipinos are God-fearing, patriotic, and deeply care for the environment and one another,” she said.
Although people from all walks of life are welcome to join the prayer rally, Wasan stressed that politicians and officials who will attend will not be allowed to speak onstage.
“Our activity is not a political activity, with no political color. We do not side with anyone,” she said.
The SLP however invited some personalities, including actress Cherry Pie Picache, to discuss issues pertaining to the dignity of life.
Outside the Archdiocese of Manila, the dioceses of Antipolo, Malolos and Imus have committed to join the prayer rally at the Quirino Grandstand, as well as lay organizations and Catholic schools.
There will be a live-streaming of the event at the Quirino Grandstand, showing the simultaneous prayer rallies in Cebu City and Cagayan de Oro City.
The Walk for Life will take place a day before the 32nd anniversary of the EDSA People Power revolution on February 25.
Pabillo said the prayer rally should remind Filipinos, not just Catholics, to stand for the Philippines and be vigilant against dictatorship and abuse.
“Let’s connect it to February 25… We should stand up for our country, we have to be vigilant. Let us not wait for another dictatorship,” he said.
The prelate added: “If we are vigilant now, the horrors of martial law won’t have to happen again. The Walk for Life is part of the vigilance for justice and for the dignity of life.” /kga
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