|Prior to this mission, we decided to
increase public awareness of vasectomy by use of billboards as has been
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
|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
||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
|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.