Catholic groups band together for May polls

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MANILA, April 6, 2013— An unusual but potentially strong alliance has formed in recent weeks to try put faith in politics this coming local and national elections.

The country’s largest Catholic groups are urgently mobilizing their communities to support politicians who are pro-family, pro-marriage and pro-life this May 13 polls.

Converged by the Council of the Laity of the Philippines, they will be known as the Lay Solidarity Coalition for Preservation of Family and Life.

Among the most visible groups in the coalition include the El Shaddai, Couples for Christ – Foundation for Family and Life, Catholic Women’s League, Focolare Movement, Bukas Loob sa Diyos, and others.

El Shaddai leader Bro. Mike Velarde said the time has come for lay leaders to defend their faith and ensure that good politicians are elected into office.

“This is the time for the Church to gather and show our numbers,” said Velarde during their recent meeting.

Some believe that El Shaddai is a political power as Velarde’s endorsement is strongly sought by politicians. Either way, it has millions of followers in and outside the country.

“The fight has started in Bacolod. (But) most of us are not used in engaging in politics,” he said, adding that lay people should actively participate in politics and work for the renewal of the political system.

Velarde was particularly referring to the Diocese of Bacolod’s campaign to vote pro-life candidates and reject those who supported the passage of the controversial Reproductive Health law.

Atty. Aurora Santiago, president of the Council of the Laity of the Philippines, said the coalition will be formally launched at the Amvel El Shaddai in Parañaque City on Monday.

The coalition, she said, will also be composed of three committees: voter’s education, communication, and endorsement.

“We initiated the forming of this coalition because many people and organizations have been asking us about what to do this May elections,” Santiago said.

The coalition of influential Catholic movements is currently under the stages of evaluation of candidates that they are going to endorse.

Some dioceses have earlier launched their own voter’s education program and campaign against lawmakers who are supportive of the RH law.

At least two separate “catholic vote” movements, organized by lay people, have also surfaced as they vowed to defeat RH backers. (Roy Lagarde)

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