The mission left Minalwang on Tuesday, February 18 in the evening to reach the coastal village of Ili-Ilihon, located a few hours away. A corner of paradise that one could imagine as a seaside resort, providing one can forget that the communist guerrilla warfare was only overcome here very recently, and can disregard all the natural scourges which perpetually threaten these populations: devastating fire last year, earthquakes, typhoons, tsunamis. The luxuriant vegetation, but especially the calmness and the smiles of the inhabitants of these places would make us forget all that, if large warning signs did not remind us.
Consultations, minor surgery, and the pharmacy setting up shop in municipal buildings: the dispensary, the “town hall,” the covered playground (under tarpaulin). The activity is intense, the whole region wanting to take advantage of these free treatments. The patients also welcome with joy and attention the teachings of the catechists of the Legion of Mary, and many will receive medals and scapulars during the ceremonies which regularly punctuate the work day of the volunteers, singing the Veni Creator and the Ave Maria in visaya (the local dialect).
One false note in this idyllic scenario: on the walls of the dispensary was a large Family Planning propaganda poster. The Philippine government legislated on the subject in the 2010s, and currently the offensive is very strong: all the legislation that we have approved in our so-called “developed” countries are in the process of being adopted here. A bill limiting the number of children to 2 or 3 (under penalty of withdrawal of family assistance) is regularly presented to Parliament ... The resistance of this Catholic people has been effective so far, but for how long? Doctor June Viray, pediatrician and pioneer of the Rosa Mystica Mission, seemed to us to be quite pessimistic.
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Captions for the slideshow:
Photo 1: Landing at Ili-Ilihon
Photo 2: Emergency instructions in case of fire, earthquake, typhoon, tsunami ...
Photo 3 and 4: Under the vigilant protection of the soldiers of the Philippine army!
Photo 5: Dr. Ian Sokolar, Dr. Philippe Ledoux, Dr. Ana Cotruta at their posts under the protection of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Photo 6: The pharmacy. The sign…and the décor says it all!
Photo 7: Exterior view of the “optical corner” Interior view!