MANILA, Philippines - From the halls of Congress to the campaign trail, the reproductive health law debate forges on.
Not to be outdone, advocates of the Reproductive Health law on Wednesday, March 20, launched a campaign to support pro-RH bets in the upcoming elections.
The "Purple Vote" will endorse up to 12 senatorial candidates as well as district representatives and bets running in the local level who are vocal supporters of the RH law.
"We want to defend them because they are really being undermined," Likhaan Director Dr Junice Melgar said in a mix of English of Filipino.
The Purple Vote launch comes a day after the Supreme Court issued a status quo ante order against the measure -- temporarily stopping the implementation of the measure for 120 days.
If not for the order, the Department of Health was all set to implement the RH law on Easter Sunday, March 31.
What if bet is pro-RH but corrupt?
Unlike the "Team Patay" and "Team Buhay" campaign, which has already identified senatorial and party-list bets that it believes voters should or should not support, the Purple Vote is still in the process of choosing its candidates.
Melgar said the group is still in the process of compromising on the criteria that will be used to judge the bets.
Although the candidates' pro-RH stance is a major criteria to gain their support, the group said the campaign will also consider other factors such as their character, track records and positions on other issues such as the freedom of information bill and the sin tax law.
"Importante din 'yung integridad. Di tayo kagaya ng Team Buhay, Team Patay na napakaipokrito - 'yun pala Tatay. (Integrity is also important. We are not like Team Buhay and Team Buhay which is very hypocritical, turns out they are fathers)," Melgar said.
But does the group have the numbers to wage a counter-campaign against the Team Buhay, Team Patay campaign?
"This is the network that made the RH win, that influenced surveys… despite the opposition of the Catholic Church," Melgar said.
Purple Vote will activate the network that lobbied for the passage of the RH law in Congress through social media and forums.
Undeterred by SQA
Dr Sylvia Estrada-Claudio, director of University of the Philippines' Center for Women's studies would rather take a level-headed approach towards the Supreme Court order.
"Medyo nagimbal kami pero noong nakatulog na ako, ang ganda naman pala ng ating demokrasya na kahit papaano ay gumagana (I was mortified at first but when I already got some sleep, [I realized that] our democracy is beautiful, that it is working to a certain extent)," Claudio said.
"No person of real good will will say that this law can not go through," she added.