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Press Release: RH BILL ADVOCATES CHALLENGE THE CBCP IN EXCOMMUNICATION PARTY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Red Tani
[email protected]

Sylvia Estrada-Claudio
[email protected]

RH BILL ADVOCATES CHALLENGE THE CBCP IN EXCOMMUNICATION PARTY

“If supporting the RH Bill means excommunication, then excommunicate me!”

Quezon City (11/26/10) – Over 100 Reproductive Health (RH) advocates are attending an
excommunication party to express their support for the RH Bill and dissent against the Catholic
Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). Expected attendees are RH Bill advocates from different
sectors, including legislators, activists, women’s groups, professionals, and students. The advocates will
sign a document that poses a challenge to the CBCP: “If supporting the RH Bill means excommunication,
then excommunicate me!”

Copies of the document will be sent to each participant’s parish church. The original document will be
delivered to the CBCP. Aside from signing the excommunication document, pro-RH legislators and
advocates will deliver solidarity messages throughout the evening. “Pro-RH lawmakers continue to
support the RH Bill even at the risk of excommunication,” said Sylvia Estrada-Claudio of the Filipino
Freethinkers, lead organizers of the event. “They are not afraid of the CBCP. Neither are we.”

The excommunication party is the next chapter of the conflict between pro-RH Bill advocates (many of
whom are Catholic laity), and anti-RH Bill advocates (led by the CBCP and Pro-Life Philippines). In a
recent incident at the Manila Cathedral, anti-RH advocates led by Eric Manalang of Pro-Life blockaded
and kicked out from a mass and prayer service members of the Filipino Freethinkers and Democratic
Socialist Women of the Philippines when they attempted to attend a mass wearing Damaso T-shirts, an
expression of their support for the RH Bill.

“For supporting the RH Bill, Manalang called even the devout Roman Catholics amoung us Satan,” said
Red Tani, President of the Filipino Freethinkers. “He branded the Catholics among us oxymorons, as
if it were a contradiction to be pro-RH and remain Catholic. We were told that our mothers should have
aborted us. If the church hierarchy thinks supporting the RH bill means heresy, then by all means —
excommunicate us! We’re throwing an advanced party for the ceremony,” said Mr. Tani.

Hosted by the Filipino Freethinkers, the excommunication party will be held at Adarna Food and Culture
Restaurant. “This will be a night of dinner, entertainment, and dissent,” said Mr. Tani. As Adarna serves
good food, improv comedians treat guests to creative, interactive comedy. There will also be adult party
games with prizes courtesy of SexandSensibilities.com and the event’s various sponsors.

“As far as we know, this excommunication party is the first event of its kind,” said Mr. Tani. “And until the
CBCP stops blocking the RH Bill from passing, this will definitely not be the last.”

The Filipino Freethinkers (FF) is a group of nonbelievers and progressive believers who practice and
promote reason, science, and secularism. They have over 2,000 members around the world, with
regional chapters in Davao and Cebu, university chapters in UP Diliman and UP Manila, and affiliate
organizations in the Asia and the US. For more information, visit www.FilipinoFreethinkers.org/about .

Filipino Version:

MGA TAGA-SUPORTA NG RH BILL, HINAMON ANG CBCP SA “EXCOMMUNICATION PARTY”

“If supporting the RH Bill means excommunication, then excommunicate me!”

Quezon City (11/26/10) – Mahigit isang daang taga-suporta ng reproductive health (RH) ay dadalo sa
isang “excommunication party” upang magpahayag ng suporta para sa RH Bill at ng pagsalungat sa
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). Inaasahang dadalo ang mga taga-suporta ng
RH Bill mula sa iba’t ibang sektor, gaya ng mga mambabatas, aktibista, organisasyon ng kababaihan,
mga propesyunal, at mga estudyante. Ang mga dadalo ay pipirma sa isang dokumento na nagsisilbing
hamon sa CBCP sa pagsabi ng: “If supporting the RH Bill means excommunication, then excommunicate
me!”

Magpapadala ng kopya ng dokumentong ito sa mga parokya ng lahat ng pumirma. Ipapadala naman ang
orihinal na dokumento sa mismong CBCP. Maliban sa pagpirma, magbibigay din ng mga mensahe ng
pagkakaisa ang mga pro-RH na mambabatas at taga-suporta. “Patuloy na ipinapaglapan ng ating mga
mambabatas na pro-RH ang RH Bill, kahit nagbanta ang CBCP na maaari silang ma-excommunicate,”
ani Sylvia Estrada-Claudio ng Filipino Freethinkers, ang grupong pangunahing nag-organisa ng
pagdiriwang. “Hindi sila takot sa CBCP. Kami ring mga tagasuporta ng RH bill ay hindi natatakot.”

Ang excommunication party ay masasabing panibagong yugto ng labanan ng mga maka-RH (na
karamihan ay mga Katoliko rin) at laban sa RH (na pinamumunuan ng CBCP at ng Pro-Life Philippines).
Nung nakaraan lamang, nagkaroon ng insidente sa Manila Cathedral nang sinubukang ng ilang
miyembro ng Filpino Freethinkers at ng Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines dumalo sa isang
misa at prayer service habang nakasuot ng t-shirt na nagsasabing Damaso bilang pagpapahayag ng
kanilang suporta para sa RH bill. Sila ay hinarang at pinaalis ng mga anti-RH advocates sa pamumuno ni
Eric Manalang ng Pro-Life Philippines.

“Dahil sa kanilang pagsuporta sa RH Bill, tinawag ni Manalang na “Satanas” pati ang mga taimtim na
Katoliko na kasama namin,” ani Red Tani, pangulo ng Filipino Freethinkers. “Binansagan niya silang
oxymoron o hindi tunay na Katoliko, na parang kabalintunaan ang maging pro-RH at manatiling Katoliko.
Sinabihan kami na dapat ipinalaglag na lang kami ng aming mga ina. Kung sa tingin ng CBCP ay mali
ang pagsuporta sa RH Bill–itiwalag na nila kami! Sa pagtiwalag sa amin, ngayon ay may pauna na
kaming pagdiriwang.”

Ang excommunication party ay inorganisa ng Filipino Freethinkers at isasagawa sa Adarna Food and
Culture Restaurant. Magkakaroon rin ng pagtatanghal ang ilang improv comedians ng interactive
comedy, at adult party games na may premyo mula sa SexandSensibilties.com at sa iba pang mga
sponsor ng pagdiriwang.

“Sa aming pagkakaalam, itong excommunication party ay unang kaganapan ng ganitong uri,” ani Mr.

Tani. “At hanggang tumigil ang CBCP sa pagharang sa RH bill, siguradong hindi ito ang magiging huli.”

Ang Filipino Freethinkers (FF) ay isang grupo ng nonbelievers at progressive believers na sumusulong
ng katwiran, agham, at sekularismo. Mahigit 2000 ang kasapi mula sa iba’t ibang bansa, at may regional
chapters sa Davao at Cebu, university chapters sa UP Diliman at UP Manila, at affiliate organizations sa
Asya at sa US. Para sa karagdagang kaalaman, pumunta sa www.FilipinoFreethinkers.org/about .

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