After years of grave pressure and harassment from both government and non-government organizations — including international population control groups — for her refusal to accept and distribute contraceptives, Mayor Sally Lee’s Sorsogon City has been selected as pilot city for the implementation of Natural Family Planning (NFP). The launch is scheduled for Tuesday, August 22nd.
In an excited phone call to Human Life International’s Regional Director for Asia and Oceana Dr. Ligaya Acosta, Mayor Sally Lee herself informed HLI of the news. She said Dr. Acosta was already listed as the event’s guest speaker! Opening ceremonies will include a motorcade around the city, ending at the Sorsogon City Hall, where the program will be conducted. Aside from Dr. Acosta as Guest Speaker, messages will also be given by the Regional Director of the Population Commission, Magdalena Abellera, Diocesan Family and Life Director, Rev. Fr. Ronnie Dolosa, Board Member Hon. Ryan Dioneda, Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Edgar Garcia, Jr., and the Provincial Governor of Sorsogon, Hon. Bobet Lee Rodrigueza. Mayor Sally Lee will give the welcome remarks.
Financed by the government’s Commission on Population, NFP representatives will be conducting a series of training sessions for village health workers and population volunteers. Unlike the usual governmental programs, the NFP Training in Sorsogon will not involve promotion of contraceptives, in keeping with Mayor Sally’s previous declaration of Sorsogon City as “Pro-Life City.” The NFP training will actually be conducted by MCST Sisters of the Diocese of Sorsogon, in cooperation with the Family and Life Ministry of the Diocese, who have been attending HLI’s international and local congresses.
It may be recalled that after the Mayor’s attendance at the 19th HLI Asia-Pacific Congress (ASPAC) on Faith, Life and Family, in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia in November 2013, Mayor Sally was so touched that she decided to declare her city as a “Pro-Life City,” in consultation with HLI.
Upon HLI’s recommendation, we conducted a week-long pro-life training for over one thousand persons, ranging from the city’s executive and legislative officials, such as government health workers, to village officials and their health workers. To help ensure understanding and support of the pro-life declaration, HLI also led intensive public information programs in a series of media appearances and village-to-village public information programs, highlighting: why to should say no to contraceptives, the beauty of NFP, and God’s divine plan for marriage and the family. In addition, HLI also conducted a special Diocesan Congress on Faith, Life, and Family in early 2016 with its own President, Rev. Fr. Shenan J. Boquet, Director for Education and Research, Dr. Brian Clowes and Regional Director for Asia and Oceania, and Dr. Ligaya Acosta giving the talks.
Thus, despite intense pressure to which Mayor Sally and her city were subjected, they have remained steadfast in their pro-life convictions. Mayor Lee remains grateful to Human Life International for its continued support and inspiration.