Prior to this mission, we decided to increase public awareness of vasectomy by use of billboards as has been done in Florida. Communicating with Frohnie by e-mail, we designed and purchased vinyl displays (bulletins, as they are called) and reserved available billboard space. The two bulletins were hung about one week before our arrival, and below are the photos taken by the billboard company Alcordo as proof of installation.
Along a busy commuter road in Talisay, a suburb of Cebu. In Cebu on a busy road near downtown.
However, we learned even before we arrived that the bulletin in Talisay had been removed by the mayor's staff and that Alcordo had been told to remove the bulletin in Cebu. Sure enough, when we went to investigate ...
... our bulletins had been removed and the space in Talisay was even being marketed, right during the dates of our rental agreement. We had been counting on these bulletins to increase awareness of our mission, and now they were gone! Even after we had paid for them!
So we headed straight for city hall. The mayor denied any responsibility for the order to remove the bulletins and deferred to his administrative assistant, who is also his brother. Both men explained that these are delicate issues; both denied our requests to allow the bulletin to be posted; but they did agree have city personnel bring the heavy vinyl to us at Sacred Heart Hospital.
We then went to the corporate offices of Alcordo to try to get them to rehang the vinyl in downtown Cebu. It was near closing time and they were cordial, but the Director made it very clear that she would need "approval". From whom? Well, from Monsenior Dakay, the Media Liaison Officer of the Archdiocese of Cebu. She needed the approval of the Catholic Church. It becamse very clear who was running things in some areas of the Philippines. The clergy can make or break the politicians, who have the power to grant or deny licenses for billboards. So Alcordo had to stay in their good graces.

What was so interesting through all of this was the fact that the film crew was never asked to turn off their cameras. Not in City Hall, not in the corporate offices of Alcordo, not in any hospitals of clinics where our services were provided. Not even in the offices of the mayor of Hilongos, where we were to learn in a few days that we were no longer welcome to use the main street clinic where we had performed so many vasectomies last year. The film crew (Jonathan, Saralena, and Joel) had never worked in such a camera-friendly environment. So they took advantage and documented it all.
Just prior to visiting our billboards, we had spent part of the morning at a very poor neighborhood called Gawad Kalinga, which is in Talisay, close to the hospital in Talisay where we had performed vasectomies during our 2010 mission. Gawad Kalinga is special to us and requires it's own web page.
Title Page
NSVI 2011 Mission
Day 1
Vasectomies at Sacred Heart Hospital
Day 2
Billboards and Politics
Day 2
Gawad Kalinga
Day 5
Lectures at SWU Medical School
Vasectomies at Visayas Community Medical Center
Day 8
107 vasectomies
at Sacred Heart Hospital