Monday, April 8, 2013

The launching of White Vote Movement

White Vote Movement

April 8, 2013. 

Lay Solidarity for the Preservation of Life and the Filipino Family (SOLIDARITY FOR LIFE AND FAMILY) 

Big church groups unite, form Solidarity for Life and Family - White Vote Movement launched. 

Some of the biggest charismatic groups in the country and from among the parish-mandated organizations within the Catholic Church have joined forces to form what they call as the Lay Solidarity for the Preservation of Life and the Filipino Family (Solidarity for Life and Family) and have announced their plan to actively participate in the scheduled May 13, 2013 mid-term elections. 

This was disclosed by Bro. Mike Velarde, founder and head servant leader of the El Shaddai Prayer Partners Foundation, Inc., who today also announced the formal launching of the WHITE VOTE MOVEMENT that will operate as the political support group of the Solidarity for Life and Family in line with its decision to endorse and support the candidacies of senatorial candidates who by their actions and conviction have fought for the preservation of life and the Filipino family. 

Bro. Mike, who has been designated as the official spokesman of the movement, said that the Solidarity for Life and Family and the White Vote Movement are positioned to become a purveyor of truth in the face of the social ills that plague the country today and also because the church and the Filipino laity need to defend itself from the introduction of the so-called “death bills” that will make a mockery of the sacredness of life and destroy the sanctity of the Filipino family.

He said that the launching of the Solidarity for Life and Family and the White Vote Movement is a shining moment in the country’s secular and temporal history because this is the first time that church-based organizations have agreed to put their God-given gifts towards a discerned purpose and this is manifested by the outpouring of support the movement has received from other parish-mandated organizations, non-governmental organization and other people’s organizations throughout the country. 

Bro. Mike said this is also one of several ways the Filipino laity can testify to the resurrection of Christ and that is by uniting our ideals with the ideals of the church to which we belong. 

He stressed that in recent months, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines have met and have reached the conclusion that the corruption pervading in our government and society today precedes from the electoral process. This was seen by the church-based organizations as a call to action and this gave birth to the idea of creating an advocacy movement to protect and preserve the sacredness of life as a God-given gift and the sanctity of the family. 

For her part, Atty. Aurora Santiago, president of the Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas (Laiko) which is the arm of the CBCP that coordinates the church-related activities of the different parish and lay organizations nationwide, said that the Solidairty movement was created when the different movements that have signified their desire to get actively involved in the electoral process approached Laiko for sanctions. 

And this is what the Laiko did as it gave its blessings to the different organizations within the church to form a group of convenors that will form the core of what is now known as the Solidarity for Life and Family which means that “this is a purely a lay initiative that is separate from the church as an institution and the only underlying objective is to create a mechanism in which the Christian values are adequately protected and preserved.” 

The Laiko, said Atty. Santiago, was brought into the picture because the CBCP per se is barred by Canon Law to get involved in partisan politics and it became the responsibility of the Laiko to give its sanction to the different movements that are promoting a Catholic vote to gather together in one umbrella but that the participation of the Laiko is to ensure that the movement will adhere to the basic tenets of the social teachings of the Church.

Bro. Mike also stressed that the birth of the Solidarity for Life and Family also came into view when Congress passed the controversial RH Bill that was signed into a law by President Benigno Simeon Aquino III and “today the church has to brace itself against what it calls threats to life and family with plans to introduce the legalization of abortion, divorce, same-sex marriage and euthanasia.” 

The Solidarity for Life and Family, said Bro. Mike, has two primary objectives – one is to support candidates who fought against the RH Bill and the other is to operate as an advocacy group that will stand against any attempt to destroy both the flow of life and the sanctity of marriage through abortion, divorce, same-sex marriage and euthanasia.

The Solidarity for Life and Family, Bro. Mike stressed, will be governed by its vision to act as a catalyst that would contribute positively to the life of the Filipino nation by humbly proposing and effectively incorporating the social teachings of the Catholic Church into the moral, spiritual, social and political life of the nation. 

In the pursuit of its mission, Bro. Mike said that in response to the challenges we are now experiencing in the spiritual, social and political life of the nation, the Solidarity for Life and Family will strive to encourage measures that promote flourishing of individuals and the communities in which they live, and will act to challenge injustice whether it arises from government actions, economic and business practices, in the education system, in religious institutions and through the political exercise. 

For Filipino families, the Solidarity for Life and Family will help evangelize Filipino families and build communities of faith by promoting personal and family prayer, pro-life values, Catholic social teachings, and stewardship. 

The movement is also committed to actively participate in the life and mission of the Church in accord with our God-given gifts to promote subsidiarity, human development and true peace and it will work to alleviate poverty where it exists, housing for the poor, and advocacies for the protection of life from death bills, the preservation of the Filipino Family, adherence to Christian values and dignity without regard to gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or class. 

Bro. Mike said the Solidarity for Life and Family shall also promote the protection of the environment and good governance through an active participation in the democratic processes such as public forums, social media, communications and more importantly through the ballot. 

The involvement of the Filipino laity in politics, according to Bro. Mike, is expressly stated in Paragraph 899 of the Cathechism if the Catholic Church which says: “The initiative of lay Christians is necessary especially when the matter involves discovering or inventing the mans for permeating social, political, and economic realities with the demands of Christian doctrine and life. This initiative is a normal element of the life of the Church:Lay believers are in the front line of Church life; for them the Church is the animating principle of human society. Therefore, they in particular ought to have an ever-clearer consciousness not only of belonging to the Church, but of being the Church, that is to say, the community of the faithful on earth under the leadership of the Pope, the common Head, and of the bishops in communion with him. They are the Church.” 

The participation of the laity in political activities is also stated in Art. No. 8, No. 1 of the Plenary Council of the Philippines II that says: “The mission of the laity is the same as that of the entire church which is to renew the political order according to gospel principles and values.” 

The PCP-II in fact also provided specific guidelines for the political involvement of the laity and these are that: 

1. The basic standard is the pursuit of the common good. 

2. It must be characterized by a defense and promotion of justice. 

3. Inspired and guided by the spirit of service. 

4. Imbued with a love or preference for the poor. 

5. And to empower people as a process and as the goal of political activity. 

And more recently, even the Synod of Bishops that was held last year at the Vatican saw the need for the laity to participate in politics and this was contained in Paragraph No. 10 of the Closing Message of the Synod of Bishops: “A field in which the light of the Gospel can and must shine in order to illuminate humanity’s footsteps is politics. Politics requires a commitment of selfless and sincere care for the common good by fully respecting the dignity of the human person from conception to natural end, honoring the family founded by the marriage of a man and a woman and protecting academic freedom; by removing the causes of injustice, inequality, discrimination, violence, racism, hunger and war. Christians are asked to give a clear witness to the precept of charity in the exercise of politics.” 

Thus Bro. Mike said that there shouldn’t be any doubt in the minds of every Filipino laity of the righteousness of their getting involved in political activities and this is particularly crucial because the participation of the laity in the coming elections on May 13, 2013 is what will lead the Filipino people in crossing the threshold of poverty and this can only be possible if the people will use their right of suffrage wisely and by way of an informed choice to elect capable and qualified leaders who will defend life and the Filipino family. 

The Filipino nation, Bro. Mike pointed out, should look for leaders who will protect and preserve life and the Filipino family which is enshrined in the Constitution; who will execute its laws; who will dispense justice to every man; and most importantly to consecrate themselves to the service of the nation according to Gospel values. 

This is also the reason why the Solidarity for Life and Family is now in the process of discernment and will announce its choice of eight (8) senatorial candidates that it will support in the May 13, 2013 pols and this will be announced on April 13, 2013 during the overnight vigil of the El Shaddai Prayer Partners at the Amvel Complex in Paranaque City. A separate committee on education has also been going around the different Archdiocese and Dioceses throughout the country and has been conducting workshops to educate the laity on how to come up with an informed choice that will guide them in electing the right leaders. 

The list of candidates the movement will support may be increased to 10 or even to the full complement of 12 candidates depending on the process of discernment that is now taking place, said Bro. Mike, who added that the White Vote Movement which has established its network nationwide will also actively campaign to support the candidates it has endorsed to ensure their electoral victory at the polls. 

For Bro. Mike Velarde, pls. call Bro. Ray Vargas@09158789590

Bro. Mike Velarde, spokesman of the Solidarity for Life and Family answering the questions from the media during the press conference.

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