Tag Archives: World March of Women

SENTRO calls on Working People to Sustain the Call to End Contractualization, Stop Authoritarian Policies

Photo by RBanares

MANILA, Philippines (May 1, 2017) – The national labor center Sentro ng Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (Center for United and Progressive Workers), or SENTRO, calls on the working people to continue the struggle against contractualization and the precariousness of living, “sustained by the Duterte’s regime biased for the elite.”

In a rally this morning in conjunction with the 130thglobal Labor Day commemoration, the 100,000-strong SENTRO criticized the “fake news” that contractualization is over. According to SENTRO Secretary General Josua Mata, “We gave Pres. Duterte the benefit of the doubt on his promise to end the oppressive policy of labor contractualization, in hoping that Pres. Duterte will dismantle and replace the much-criticized Department Order No. 18-A.” He said their hopes were met with grim disillusionment with Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello’s release of DO No. 174 last March 19, 2017.

Mata stated that DO 174 will perpetuate contractualization by: a) allowing businesses to hire workers through agencies; b) allowing cooperatives to engage in labor contracting and subcontracting; c) no longer requiring the principal employer to provide unions a copy of the service contract; and d) allowing contracting agencies to further downplay the price of labor costs—guaranteeing even lower salaries and benefits for workers across industries. “Clearly, DO 174 widely differs from what Pres. Duterte has promised,” said Mata.

SENTRO assailed the President from being only true to its promise to kill, and to bury the late dictator Marcos at the Heroes Cemetery. In a statement, SENTRO noted that in almost 365 days in Malacañang, the President’s hands are bloodied in calling on the police, and later jobless migrant workers to kill drug users. However, it failed to deliver genuine resolution of the drug problem as it allows the escape of drug traffickers like Peter Lim.

SENTRO marched from Welcome Rotonda and converged with the 10,000 marchers of NAGKAISA Coalition to push Pres. Duterte to prioritize the prohibition of all forms of contractualization by supplanting DO 174 with an Executive Order and by certifying as urgent the passage of HB4444.

Allies from human rights groups such as iDEFEND, the World March of Women, and students marched with the workers to call on all “freedom-loving Filipinos to stand up and be counted in the fight for regular and sustainable jobs, to stop the killings, block Duterte’s Death Policies – the reimposition of the death penalty and the lowering of the age of criminality – and to resist moves to amend the constitution to institute “constitutional authoritarianism.” The march followed a coffin with a chick on top, a derivation from a Filipino custom, hoping that the deaths will stop immediately.

“Let us assert our basic right to a dignified and genuinely safe society—not the selective security of the privileged that preys on the massacre of the poor,” added Mata.

Painted Women Performed Warrior Dance against Violence

 

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To mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, women with painted faces and bodies performed a warrior dance at noon today in Quezon City. Filling the streets around the World Scout Jamboree roundabout in Timog, the women denounced the violenceof the current administration, and the institutional violence that “kills” 14 women each day they are deprived of reproductive health services by the state.

According to the women, the Duterte administration’s violence include the drug-war killings, the killing of democracy through patronage of the Marcos burial at the heroes’ cemetery and sponsorship of the Marcos’s return to power, promotion of death penalty, criminalization of child delinquents, non-implementation of the Reproductive Health Law, and sexist attacks on women’s dignity.

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“The spate of state-sanctioned killings exacerbated the trauma in women already reeling from impoverishment,” said Clarissa Militante, one of the leaders of World March of Women (WMW) and Focus on the Global South. Both groups are members of iDefend, a human rights network calling for a stop to the killings. According to iDefend, the number has reached over 5,000 and victimized are mostly poor families, leaving women widowed and children fatherless. Human rights groups are now overburdened with responding to psycho-social and legal needs of the families of survivors. “The encouragement of the killings by the President himself emboldened the police to directly take lives, as well as persecute women leaders who dare challenge this policy,” added Militante. She noted that the first human rights defender killed under the current administration is a woman environmental rights advocate, Gloria Capitan.

“The state’s facilitation of dictator Marcos’s burial similarly opened wounds in rape and torture victims among women, and those left behind by the disappeared during Martial Law,” according to Nilda Lagman-Sevilla, Co-Chair of the Familiies of Victims of Involuntary Disappearances (FIND). Ka Nilda’s brother, a human rights lawyer who vanished in 1977, is among the 882 desaparecidos under Martial Law. “President Duterte himself should account for this mistake, rectify it, and stop resuscitating a deposed authoritarian power,” she added.

Now, women are being abused online when identified to be protesting against the Marcos burial or critiquing the Duterte administration. It should be remembered that WMW leaders charged the current President with violation of the Magna Carta of Women and promotion of rape culture. Now, the same sexism is being perpetrated by legislators against Senator Leila De Lima, as well as by Marcos and Duterte followers against protesters, according to Jean Enriquez of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW-AP), WMW and iDefend. “Sexual harassment, sexist cyberbullying and rape cases brought to our attention rose in number with the coming to power of Duterte, bringing along Marcos with him,” said Enriquez. However, the women refuse to be cowed.

“We draw strength from our women ancestors who have resisted our subjugation as a people,” stated Nice Coronacion, leader of the youth section of the labour center SENTRO. “We cannot allow the resurgence of a terror state, and we are rising in defiance,” Coronacion added.

“The women vowed to fight for their rights to reproductive freedom, a life of dignity, and a safe and violence-free world for women and their families,” said Ana Maria Nemenzo of WomanHealth.

The women leaders underscored that the recent days after the Marcos burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani showed that silence and spread of lies which marked the entry to power of Pres. Duterte and re-emergence of the Marcoses, is now being countered by intelligent and truthful narratives, calls for justice and reason from human rights defenders and coming especially from young people in protest actions.

Also leading the symbolic dance as “Pintadas” were women from the Center for Migrant Advocacy, Foundation for Media Alternatives, Lilak (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights), Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK), SARILAYA, WomanHealth, Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau (WLB), Idefend, Block Marcos, Coalition Against the Marcos Burial at LNMB (CAMB-LNMB), and individual women who heeded the call for the action online.

Those who were not able to come to the action painted their faces and posted selfies with hashtags #EndVAW, #WomenRising, #StopTheKillingsPh, #BlockMarcos and #Hukayin.

Women and Workers Outraged by SC Decision on Marcos Burial

Marcos not a hero

Women and worker activists held a noise barrage in Quezon City this evening to express their outrage over the Supreme Court’s decision to bury the deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

The groups World March of Women (WMW), Sentro ng Progresibo at Nagkakaisang Manggagawa (SENTRO) and Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) have been rallying to oppose President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to bury Marcos in the hero’s cemetery.

“We shall never forget this day. The decision of the SC is a grave insult to the memory of those who died under Marcos rule,” according to Jelen Paclarin, Executive Director of the Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau (WLB). “The burial of Marcos in LNB is the death of justice – as the remains of the Dictator shall be laid in the ground, so shall what remained of hope and our faith in the justice system.” The group asserted that Marcos is not a hero, but a dictator who brought upon atrocities and suffering to the country and the Filipino people can never be called a hero.

Josua Mata, Secretary General of SENTRO, expressed that the SC decision tramples on the sacrifices of all trade unionists whose lives were taken in fighting the Marcos dictatorship. “This is another nail on the cross of democracy in the country,” added Mata.

“We fought the Marcos dictatorship fiercely and sacrificed our youth so that our children will live free from fascism,” stated Jean Enriquez, Philippine Coordinator of the WMW. “But President Duterte would rather fulfill his campaign promises to the Marcos family, which left the democratic forces with no recourse but to file petitions at the Supreme Court,” she added. They vowed to continue resisting the grave abuse of discretion by the president in ordering the Marcos burial at the heroes’ cemetery, despite the SC failing them.

“This SC decision does not represent the position of the thousands of Filipino people who have lived, experienced and understood the horrors during the Marcos dictatorship, said Judy Pasimio, Executive Director of Lilak (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights). “Our resistance to the burying of truth and that tragic part of our history will continue,” she added. The group noted that indigenous and Moro people have been severely abused during the Marcos regime.

Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Focus on the Global South, Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center, Foundation for Media Alternatives, Youth and Students Advancing Gender Equality, iDefend, and the Coalition Against Marcos Burial petitioners were part of the action.

Women’s groups call on the new administration to respect women and human rights

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Women’s groups with CHR Commissioner Chito Gascon

Press Statement

We, women, celebrate the resolution of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) that incoming President Rodrigo Duterte violated the Magna Carta of Women when he made debasing remarks on rape and abuse of a domestic worker, kissed female supporters and held them on his lap in public, to the women’s surprise and without their consent, during his presidential campaign.

For the victims of rape and sexual assault and for all other women who were affected by his acts, that the women’s right against gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment was affirmed through this resolution is victory in itself. This is a huge positive step in the struggle against patriarchy.

That the resolution upholds and promotes the Magna Carta of Women is also seen as triumph in the legal arena. This battle, however, is far from over, as the replies of the incoming President through his legal counsel and incoming Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, to the women’s complaint have focused on accusing the CHR of partisanship, and the complainants of simply discrediting the respondent for electoral purposes. Last Monday, the complainants filed a comment to the incoming president’s motion for reconsideration at the CHR.

We stand by the complainants that the movements they represent “have been around far longer than the Respondent’s tenure in government,” and that as advocates for women’s rights for decades, we are “duty-bound to ensure that the laws women have so tirelessly fought for are being respected and complied with by all.”

A number of our partner organizations worked in Davao City for pro-women legislation and it is, therefore, more disturbing that the same person claiming to be advancing women’s rights in his reply, would commit acts of discrimination and violence against women.[1]

We maintain that the respondent’s remarks/acts and justification of them in public speeches caused harm on women, especially the victim-survivors of rape.

As he assumes greater power, we are similarly disturbed by the lack of remorse, the disparaging of human rights institutions, as well as statements encouraging other human rights violations towards journalists and perceived criminals. To date, 40 suspected criminals, including a corn farmer in Zamboanga and three members of the LGBT community, have been killed summarily, since Duterte has been elected. He gave the police assurances during the campaign that they will have his full backing if they killed “criminals in the line of duty,” while also calling for the restoration of death penalty.

A mayor in Batangas had been parading suspects, three of whom were minors. A mayor in Cebu has been offering bounties for killers of suspected criminals. We have been witnessing children being torn away from their poor parents vending at night in the name of curfew. Women advocates suffer from rape and death threats when they raise their voices against the respondent’s acts. Not only was a culture of rape encouraged, but a culture of violence, death and reprisal.

We, therefore, call on all sectors of society to be as advocates, watchful and critical over violations of human rights standards we fought for through the years. We will also hold this administration answerable to its promises about ending contractualization, protecting the environment — opposing mining and the use of dirty energy in the country — and looking after the rights of farmers, indigenous peoples and other vulnerable groups including the LGBT community.

Our tasks in the women’s and human rights movements may have become more daunting as the Duterte administration begins, but as in the past so shall it be in the present, social movements press on and thrive despite of governments, even of the authoritarian kind.

Organizations:

1. Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) – Youth
2. Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD)
3. BagongKamalayan
4. BuklodngKababaihan
5. Coalition Against Trafficking In Women – Asia Pacific (CATW-AP)
6. Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA)
7. CPSU Gender and Development (GAD) Team
8. Development through Active Women Networking (DAWN)
9. Focus on the Global South
10. Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA)
11. KababaihansaSining at BagongSibolnaKamalayan (KASIBULAN)
12. LIHOK Pilipina
13. Lilak (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights)
14. MalayangLapianngmgaKababaihansaIrosin (Malaya Ka, Inc)
15. Mindanao Tri-People Women’s Forum
16. Mindanao Tri-People Women Resource Center (MTWRC, Inc.)
17. PagkakaisangKababaihanparasaKalayaan (KaisaKa)
18. PILIPINA
19. Respect FastFood Workers’ Alliance
20. Sagip-IlogPilipinas
21. Sarilaya
22. SENTRO-Women
23. WomanHealth Philippines
24. Women and Gender Institute (WagiMc)
25. Women Enablers Advocates and Volunteers for Empowering and Responsive Solution (WEAVERS)
26. Women Interacting for New Growth and Services (WINGS)
27. Women’s Education Development Productivity & Research Organization (WEDPRO)
28. Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau – WLB
29. Women’s Day Off
30. World March of Women – Pilipinas
31. Youth and Students Advancing Gender Equality – YSAGE

Individuals:

1. DadineSaunarAbella
2. Jen Albano
3. Cora Dandan Albano
4. Holly Allan
5. Fatima PirAllian
6. Robert Andres
7. Edna Aquino
8. Zinnia Arcinue
9. Julie Jacob Asuncion
10. Faith Bacon
11. McoiBagaforo
12. Marla A. Barcenilla
13. Tess Battad
14. Yen Belarmino
15. Walden Bello
16. LaeanAbrogina Benitez
17. Zena Bernardo Bernardo
18. Maribel Brown
19. Lori G. Brunio
20. Annie Calma
21. James Castaneda
22. Kathy Clarin
23. Ging Cristobal
24. IvankaCustodio
25. Tina Cuyugan
26. Herbert Docena
27. Mila De Guzman
28. Yeyin De La Cruz
29. Angel Doniego
30. Julia Enriquez Cristobal
31. Mari Enriquez
32. Wilma Famoso
33. Astrid Fontanilla
34. MarevicBalisalisaFontanilla
35. Naomi Fontanos
36. Melvs Garcia
37. Patricia Gonzales
38. Viol de Guzman
39. AnjHeruela
40. Dee Dicen Hunt
41. Joy Anne Icayan
42. AvicIlagan
43. Lorna Quejong Israel
44. John Rex Jardinero
45. RossanJoson
46. MalouPantuaJuanito
47. Gemma Lambino
48. Yna de Leon
49. Ester Libo
50. Ted Lopez
51. Becky Lozada
52. Katrina Lucena
53. CieloMagno
54. NildaMangilay
55. Arnie Rabe-luke Manuel
56. Eileen Matute
57. Lan Mercado
58. ZenaidaSalientesMique
59. Lily Mocles
60. Giselle Montero
61. Eugene Moreno
62. MenchieNolasco
63. 59. Eden Ocampo
64. Joy Oh
65. GieOnida
66. Julius Panday
67. Bodjie Pascua
68. SokiePaulin
69. Corazon Pindog
70. Maria Lourdes Polotan
71. May Quizan
72. Odes Reyes
73. Doris Lois Rifareal
74. Mary Rebecca Rogacion
75. Tessa Cruz San Diego
76. Alice Sarmiento
77. Mel Soto
78. Joyce Sierra
79. Amelia Suarez
80. Filomena Gloria Subala
81. Msmyra M Tambor
82. Kelly Denn Tomas
83. Christine Anne Trajano
84. DinnaUmengan
85. Ron de Vera
86. Ester Villarin
87. Jay Yparraguirre
88. Sonia SoosotNisaZerrudo

P-Noy’s CARP/ER Legacy: Rural unrest, unfinished agrarian reform, land grabbing and landlord impunity— multisectoral groups

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focusweb.org photo

June 9, Quezon City – On the eve of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program’s 27th anniversary, around 450 farmers, women, labor, youth, and agrarian reform activists converged at the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to collectively exact accountability from the Aquino administration mangling of the nationwide agrarian reform program. With chants loud and signs high, protesters from the Save Agrarian Reform Alliance (SARA), Kaisahan ng Maliliit na Magsasaka (KMM), KATARUNGAN, Pambansang Kaisahan ng Magbubukid sa Pilipinas (PKMP), PARAGOS-Pilipinas, Pambansang Kongreso ng mga Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK), Alliance of Progressive Labor-SENTRO, World March of Women, Ateneans for Agrarian Reform Movement (AFARM), Foodfirst Information and Action Network-Philippines (FIAN), Laban ng mga Iskolar para sa Repormang Agraryo (UP LIKHA), Peoples’ Development Institute, and Focus on the Global South ensured that their critical messages were heard outside the DAR office:

“TULOY ANG LABAN SA REPORMANG AGRARYO, KAHIT PINALPAK NG GOBYERNO!”

“PALAWAKIN ANG MGA LABAN PARA SA HUSTISYA SA LUPA!”

“KAUNLARAN NG SAKA!” “REPORMANG AGRARYO, LABAN NG BAYAN!”

Wearing white as if in a funeral, the group symbolically padlocked the inutile Department of Agrarian Reform while holding a program in front of it. Farmers from Porac and Mabalacat, Pampanga, Bulacan, Bataan, Rizal, and Hacienda Matias, Quezon –considered as agrarian hotspots in the country— lamented the systematic harassments, violations of human rights, and extrajudicial killings of farmers fighting for their lands in the face of the government’s failure to protect the farmers’ rights. With the Philippines’ anti-agriculture and anti-small farm development policies, landlords, agribusiness and corporations in collusion with corrupt DAR and other CARP-implementing agencies’ officials exploited the loopholes in CARP/ER to serve the formers’ interests.

According to the groups, incidences of land grabbing, landlord impunity, and circumventions of the law marked the 27 years of existence of CARP/ER. Wherever and whenever CARP worked, it was because of the incremental efforts, critical engagement and rights-claiming of farmer groups from below in tandem with support from other sectors from above to effectively implement the program, the protestors argued.

The groups also condemn the deliberate counter-reform tactics of the Visayan bloc, a group of landlords at the House of Representatives, that inserted anti-farmer and anti-agrarian reform provisions in House Bill 4296, which aims to extend the issuance of notices of coverage or NOCs, the initiatory step for the land acquisition and distribution process. Such provisions include exemptions of rainfed or non-irrigable lands close to national highways, increasing the retention limits for landlords and their heirs, and changing the reckoning date for retention rights of legal heirs of deceased landowners over aggregate individual landholdings from June 10, 1988 to January 1, 2015 instead.

Clearly, the landed elites in the House of Representatives are protecting their own interests—another roadblock in the full implementation of CARP. Another barrier to rural development. Another obstruction of social justice.

Enough is enough!

The future of CARP/ER appears grim: substantial headway towards the full completion of the Philippine agrarian reform program has yet to take place, five years after it was extended and reformed by the CARPER Act. This fact has been firmly borne out by how the CARP record of the Aquino government’s DAR and other CARP-implementing agencies has remained at dismal and depressing levels. That reality, as has been the outgrowth of a sustained neglect and incompetence of the current administration, an indecisive and technicality-oriented DAR leadership, an inhospitable neoliberal policy environment, and a President who cannot go beyond his class interests.

But the groups vowed to continue and intensify the fight for agrarian reform and social justice.

The movement for agrarian reform and rural development will continue to grow – as farmers, workers, women, and the youth look for other alternative avenues in the fight for equity and justice. Among them include:

  • a CARPER Audit that would assess the performance of DAR and other CARP-implementing agencies in the last five years and would validate it on the ground
  • sustained struggles to secure of land tenure for small, landless farmers, farmworkers and rural women amid land grabbing, cancellation of land titles or Certificate of Land Ownership Awards (CLOA), illegal reclassification and land use conversions;
  • promotion of alternative models of agricultural production for small farmers and food producers, of food sovereignty and sustainability of the environment;
  • protection of the rights of workers in the food industry, commercial farms, and plantations;
  • campaigns for social protection, rural development, and rural industrialization; and
  • national youth alliance for agrarian reform and rural development and “balik-farm programs”.

The groups stressed that defending and protecting agricultural lands will not only secure the land rights and lives of farmers and food producers, it will secure the nation’s food needs. Agrarian reform is everyone’s fight.