THE BATTLE is far from over.

Pro-life groups and students from Catholic schools gathered for a Mass and prayer rally against the "Reproductive Health" (RH) Law on the day of oral arguments at the Supreme Court over the measure's constitutionality.

In his homily during the Eucharistic Celebration at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Nuestra Señora de Guia in Ermita, Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes highlighted the role of prayer in the divisive battle facing the nation. "It will be a long battle, but faith is more powerful than armies. Prayer can influence history,” he said.

Reyes, who is chairman of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines-Commission on Family and Life, also urged the faithful not to blame population for the country's ills. "Our intention is not to dictate the government how to govern; our concern is the spiritual life of people," Reyes added.

Among anti-RH advocates who attended the Mass was former Manila mayor Jose "Lito" Atienza, Jr., whose pro-life Buhay party-list topped the recent midterm elections.

“We are praying for the Supreme Court justices, that they may be enlightened on the truth," Atienza told the Varsitarian.

Former Senator Francisco "Kit" Tatad, who delivered the opening statement for oral arguments versus RH Law, regarded the population control measure as a "threat" to the nation. "This country has been deeply divided by this [RH] law. It threatens our nation. Before this, we [the Church and the government] lived harmoniously together," Tatad told reporters.

RH Law advocates likewise staged their own rally before the Supreme Court.

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"Ang rally na ito ay para ipaalala sa maraming opisyal na kapag hininto ang pagpasa ng RH Law, malaki ang pagtanggal sa karapatan ng babae at lalake to access the benefits of RH," said Romel de Vera, human resource officer of the Reproductive Health Advocacy Network.

Last March 19, the Supreme Court issued a 120-day status quo ante order against the RH Law, preventing the government from implementing the taxpayer-funded, multi-billion peso birth control program.

The status quo ante order was extended indefinetly last July 16.

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