Tag Archives: Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA)

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 march against poverty is a march for human dignity

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Women group march in Mendiola, Manila / Photo by Borgie Ceniza Balinton

Fourth International Action
STATEMENT INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ERADICATION OF POVERTY
World March of Women-Pilipinas

Our march against poverty is a march for human dignity. It is our right to live a life where choices are not clipped by the meagreness of resources available for us, our future not chained to injustices that deprive us the means to live, our roles not imposed by an economic system that value profit over rights.

Poverty is the outcome of systemic abuse brought upon us by greed – corporations excavating mountains, exploiting the lands, uprooting trees, cementing coasts, keeping wages at their lowest, profiting from social services, and at the cost of poisoned communities, displaced farmers and fishers, enslaved workers, prostituted women and children. Greed finds good company in guns and the militarization it represents to ensure that the corporations and elites are protected. Guns come with goons and the patriarchal set-up it represents to keep women silent and subservient to this system.

But we, women, can never be silenced. The World March of Women-Pilipinas refuses to be clipped, chained, and devalued by this system of greed, guns, and goons. Women know the enemies and we shall hold them accountable for bringing more than half of our country into poverty. We seek justice for the poorest families earning barely a tenth of what the richest families earned. We demand response to the declining employment of women, with one-third of employed women working as unskilled workers, mostly in wholesale and retail trade, agriculture and manufacturing, or forced to leave their homeland. Women work in conditions that are highly informal and vulnerable, with tenuous contracts, low pay or earnings, and little social protection.

Landless peasant families earn 148 pesos on the average in foreign-owned agricultural plantations, with women farmworkers earning 15 peso less. All these unjust conditions push women to work as migrants, where often we are treated just the same, with little protection and dignity.

Women know the enemies intend to blind us, passing as laws like the Mining Act but operating like thieves in broad daylight. No gold can blind us to see that mining does not give jobs, does not contribute to the economy, and can never be responsible enough to safeguard the environment and the community. For the past years, mining contributed to less than 2% to the GDP, employing less than 0.4% of labor force.

Mining violates half of our protected areas and two-thirds of the ancestral domains of our indigenous communities across the country. Poverty rates are evidently high in host-communities of mining, with their leaders and rights defenders being terrorized and killed by hired militias. These private armed groups often have the blessing of the state and political clans, in the name of protecting investments. The state should be held responsible for the human rights violations committed by the militias in the mining communities. The political clans and their dynasties should be dumped this coming elections, along with the weight of the rocks and soil that can never be made fertile again due to mining.

Women shall claim back the lands and waters grabbed by these corporations and we shall cultivate and nurture them to address food security instead of profit. Mining and other forms of resource extraction is just one category in land grabs, there are countless others disguising as development interventions. National and local elites have capitalized on programs like ecotourism, industrial agriculture and biofuels, residential and commercial use, to pass off land grabs as legitimate act. Even disaster-affected areas are not spared. Fishing communities were forced to leave coastal areas declared as no build zones due to anticipated effects of disaster, only to find out later that these were being sold to corporations for resorts and commercial use. Meantime, the farmers, fishers and indigenous peoples who dare fight for their lands and territories are treated as law offenders. Their acts criminalized, their rights taken for granted.

On this International Day of Eradication of Poverty, the World March of Women-Pilipinas calls on the eradication of corporate mining, land grabbing, the prostitution of women and children, labor rights violations, and state terrorism as drivers of poverty.

The women’s march against poverty is a march for human dignity. Our dignity lies in securing the rights of peoples to land, water, and territories as sources of their subsistence for the present and future generations. Our dignity lies in equal opportunities for men and women to participate in and benefit from development that does not exploit the environment nor oppress communities. It is with dignity that we shall overcome poverty on our own terms.

October 17, 2015

World March of Women-Pilipinas • Alyansa Tigil Mina • Bagong Kamalayan Collective, Inc. •
Buklod ng Kababaihan sa Olongapo • Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA) •
Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Asia Pacific (CATW-AP) • Focus on the Global South •
Freedom from Debt Coalition • KAISA KA • Katutubong Lilak (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights) • WomanHealth Philippines • Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau (WLB) • Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan • PhilWomen on the ASEAN • Sarilaya • Sentro ng mga Nakakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) • SENTRO Youth • Transform Asia • True Colors Coalition • Youth and Students Advancing Gender Equality (YSAGE)

Women’s Coalitions Launch 18 Days of Activism against Violence, Declares: WE ARE ALL JENNIFER!

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On the eve of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (VAW), which marks the start of the 18 Days of Activism Against VAW, women’s groups held a press conference and rally in front of the US Embassy. The coalitions announced today that they unite in focusing on the call for justice for Jennifer Laude during this 18-day campaign period which starts on November 25, and will sustain the campaign until justice is served.

“We are all Jennifer!,” declared Jean Enriquez of the World March of Women, in behalf of the other women’s groups and supporting social movements who also participated in a rally in front of the US Embassy. “The commodification, the objectification, the hate crime, the murder of Laude are illustrative of the continuum of violence against women suffered by many women, including trans women,” added Enriquez. She explained how various forms of violence against women, including sexual harassment, physical and economic abuse, rape and others, share the same roots – that of gender inequality, that of keeping women in a subordinated status in society, and are interrelated, sometimes recurring in a woman’s life.

“Jennifer Laude was killed because of her sexual orientation and gender identity – because she is a trans woman,” said Jelen Paclarin, a leader of the Philwomen on ASEAN. Paclarin added that the groups demand the Philippine government, particularly the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), to exhaust all legal measures to ensure that Jennifer’s perpetrator will be punished under Philippine law.

Groups of transgender women highlighted the continuing spate of hate crimes against transwomen, such as the killing of two others in Quezon province, weeks after Laude was killed on October 11, 2014. Naomi Fontanos, Executive Director of GANDA Filipinas, stated that “as long as patriarchal beliefs and attitudes, sexism and machismo exist, there will be more Jennifer Laudes.” She stressed the need to expand anti-violence interventions to address those directed towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Filipinos.

Among the coalitions present is the Scrap VFA Coalition, represented by Proleta Nunez. They underscored that the Visiting Forces Agreement has to go, along with the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the US. “The EDCA, like the military bases agreement, will likely be committing violence against women once it becomes operational,” said Nunez.

The women leaders vowed to be vigilant, especially during the Christmas season, as they remembered how US soldier Daniel Smith, then convicted with rape of a Filipina by a lower court, was transferred to US custody a few days before New Year. In the next 16 days, activities to increase awareness on the Jennifer Laude case, on sexual violence, hate crimes and US militarism, will be held. Among these are:

December 5 – Conversations with LGBT groups
December 8 – Scrap VFA Forum, UP Institute of Human Rights
December 9 – Premiere of Pink Documentary, Trinoma
December 10 – Human Rights Day Rally
December 12 – Trans Film Showing as part of Pink Fest, Trinoma
December 13 – QC LGBT Pride March.

After the press conference, the women leaders, all wearing purple, proceeded to join the 150-strong mobilization that marched along Kalaw St., from Plaza Salamanca in Taft Avenue to the US Embassy. Upon meeting the mobilization, they took off their purple shirts to reveal their red shirts, “symbols of resistance,” with the slogan “We are all Jennifer!,” similar to those worn by the marchers.

Underscoring that US military presence worsens violence against women, the marchers raised crossed arms as act of protest against militarism and gender-based violence. November 24 was also the day that the last soldiers left Subic Naval Base by plane 22 years ago after extension of the bases lease was rejected by the Philippine Senate. However, VFA and EDCA were signed afterwards, which saw the rise in prostitution, rape and other forms of violence in areas opened to US military.

Upon reaching Plaza Ferguson, the women formed a huge human cross to signify that violence against women, hate crimes, and US military presence have no place in their lives as women, in society. “We seek to eliminate hate crimes, we seek to cross out gender-based violence, and we seek to end militarism.”

PARTICIPATING GROUPS:

Association of Transgender People in the Philippines (ATP) • Bagong Kamalayan • Buklod •
Buklod ng Nagkakaisang Kababaihan • CATW-AP • Center for Migrant Advocacy •
Development Action for Women Network • Focus on the Global South • Freedom from Debt Coalition • GANDA Filipinas • KAISA-KA • Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya •
LILAK (Purple Action for Women’s Rights) • Partido ng Manggagawa • Piglas Kababaihan •
Philwomen on ASEAN • PKKK • RENEW • SARILAYA • SCRAP VFA • SENTRO •
Women’s Education, Development, Productivity and Research Organization (WEDPRO) •
WomanHealth Phils. • Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau (WLB) • Women’s Crisis Center • World March of Women – Pilipinas • Youth and Students Advancing Gender Equality (YSAGE)