ON THE SEVENTH year of the One Billion Rising, hundreds of women led by Gabriela converged at the Rajah Sulayman Park, Roxas Boulevard, Manila last February 14 to dance in protest against intensifying fascism and tyranny in the country.
The extensive plunder of resources and wealth in compliance with neoliberal policies pushed by the US and through Chinese intervention was highlighted during the activity. The Duterte regime is selling off the sovereignty of the country and its territories to cling in power and continue to benefit from agreements worth billions of pesos.
According to the Center for Women’s Resources (CWR), attacks and violations against the rights of women intensified under the macho-fascist regime. The group said that even data by the Philippine National Police indicate that 2,962 cases of rape were recorded since January until May 2018 or an average of 20 cases daily. The group also stated that 56 elements and officials of the PNP were among the reported perpetrators. Majority of the victims were 17 years old and younger, and apprehended under the guise of “war on drugs.” Not one was made accountable of these cases.
Duterte and his henchmen also continue to disrespect women despite having been repeatedly criticized by the general public. Attacks by the regime against women mass leaders, activists, church and media workers are relentless. Of the 540 political prisoners still detained at present, 45 are women. Meanwhile, 33 of 141 victims of political killings are women.
Women are shouldering the incessant increases in the prices of goods, poverty and the lack of livelihood. Most women suffer from extremely low wages and the absence of stable employment. They are commonly employed in manufacturing factories which implement various labor flexibilization schemes. Some women workers are compensated under the pakyawan scheme such as those working in Marikina and are paid P7-P18 for every hand-woven shoe (sold at P1,500 to P2,500 each in the market) they are able to produce.
The CWR added that millions of women will certainly suffer from poverty and hunger with the implementation of the second TRAIN law package. Data by the Philippine Statistics Authority itself indicate that 21.9 million are poor and find it hard to make ends meet. Women shoulder the heaviest burden when the prices of commodities increase as they are commonly the ones who plan the budget for their families.
Before the major activity on February 14, #OneBillionRising activities were also conducted in various schools and by various organizations including the Lyceum of the Philippines University-Manila, Sta. Isabel College-Manila, Tanauan’s Assumption Academy in Leyte, University of Eastern Philippines, the local government of Catarman, Northern Samar, Barangays Bagong Silang in Caloocan, Barangay Canumay East in Valenzuela, women of Tondo and Baguio and church people from the Ecumenical Women’s Forum at National Council of Churches in the Philippines.