Tag Archives: World March of Women – Pilipinas

Charter Change: Changing the rules to allow dictatorship

NO TO CHA-CHA Militants call for a stop to Charter change, which they fear will lead to a “revolutionary government” and dictatorship as they march toward the Edsa People Power Monument. —ALEXIS CORPUZ

Opening the 1987 Constitution to amendments via a Constituent Assembly (ConAss) will only enable the few to forward their own interests, allow the President and other incumbents to stay in power beyond their terms, or establish a transitional or permanent dictator along the way.

On July 9, 2018, a draft federal constitution was submitted by the Consultative Committee to the President. The ConCom’s Bayanihan Federalism draft is in addition to earlier drafts, including that from the PDP-Laban and the congressmen’s own House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 9. All these set the stage for the opening of the 1987 Constitution to amendments – all via a Constituent Assembly as it is the fastest and least costly mode preferred by the President.

These proposals contain transitory provisions that allow the sitting President to exercise dictatorial powers during the transition. We have no doubt the current members of the Lower House who will comprise the absolute majority ConAss will grant the wish of President Duterte as the same agenda also feeds their interest of extending their terms during the transition.

On July 23, 2018, the President will deliver his annual State of the Nation Address to Congress—both the House of Representatives and Senate—where we expect Duterte’s Charter Change and Federalism to take center stage.

We, from the Kalipunan ng mga Kilusang Masa or Kalipunan, a coalition of movements from farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples, labor, women, urban poor, environmental activists, youth, and students join the broader movement against dictatorship in the United People’s SONA where ordinary citizens take center stage and speak about issues that Duterte has set aside.

We stand in solidarity with social movements of different leanings, and the religious to condemn Duterte’s Charter Change as a grave danger to democracy and doubt the proposed revisions will actually result to a truly humane and just society. Charter Change will only cement Duterte’s Dictatorship, to the detriment of basic sectors of society.

KALIPUNAN looks no further from Duterte’s failed promises and dismal track record in the past two years for proof:

1. On Contractualization: Despite strong statements that the President will completely end contractualization, this labor practice continues to be the rule rather than the exception in many workplaces.

2. On TRAIN and Inflation: Further aggravated by the effects of TRAIN Law, the inflation rate has ballooned to 5.2% causing prices of basic goods and services to increase. In addition, the effects of the trillion-peso loan from China to our economy have yet to be seen.

3. On the West Philippine Sea: His failure to enforce the Hague ruling has allowed Chinese military bases to be installed in the West Philippine Sea, and for Chinese fishers to trample on the rights of local fishers from Zambales and Pangasinan.

4. On Rural Economies: There continues to be a lack of a National Land Use Policy that enables local government units and private real estate developers to convert prime irrigable and irrigated lands to commercial lands that affect farmers’ livelihoods. The lifting of the Quantitative Restrictions (QR) on rice, and in its place the government’s proposal to fully liberalize the rice industry also threatens food sovereignty and the livelihoods of smallholder rice farmers.

5. On Mining and the Environment: Mining companies continue to operate in protected areas and ancestral lands; coupled with an outdated Philippine Mining Act, most mining operations in the country not only disregard getting the free and prior informed consent of indigenous peoples but also worsen environmental degradation.

6. On the War on Drugs: He has waged a bloody “war on drugs” that has resulted in the proliferation of killings in the country. From July 1, 2016, to June 11, 2018; the police has recorded 4,279 suspects killed in anti-illegal drug operations and 23, 518 homicide cases under investigation.

7. On Violence against Women: Duterte’s misogyny and vilification of women have created a culture that promulgates violence against women.

Clearly, Duterte has failed to deliver on his promises. Will this chacha change the state of things where he failed during the past two years?

These proposals to revise the constitution are not the answers to the people’s concerns. Charter Change will only serve to legitimize the rule of the few and divert the government’s attention from addressing pressing issues basic sectors face.

For this reason, the Kalipunan will join the historic gathering of different groups and organizations on the day of SONA. We call on all to join this historic United People’s SONA to hold our government leaders accountable, especially Duterte, in failing to address the concerns of our people and uphold freedom, social justice, and democracy.

Statement of Kalipunan ng mga Kilusang Masa
14 July 2018

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM)
Kilos Maralita (KM)
Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA)
Partido Manggagawa (PM)
Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO)
Union of Students for the Advancement of Democracy (USAD-Ateneo de Manila)
Urban Poor Alliance (UP All)
World March of Women – Pilipinas

Poll bets should ensure ‘decent work, secure future, freedom from violence’ to get women’s vote – Sentro-Women

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Sentro Women with World March of Women on International Women’s Day

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WOMEN activists used the International Women’s Day (IWD) today as a launch pad to flex their political muscle for candidates in the May 9 elections who would truly address the pressing concerns on job insecurity,climate change, violence against women as well as the LGBT, militarism in Mindanao and EDCA.

Hundreds of women members of the national labor center Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro-Women) have called for that and other related demands during concerted IWD marches, pickets and other mass actions in Manila, Batangas, Cebu, Davao, General Santos and Marbel (Koronadal, South Cotabato).

In Manila, Sentro-Women joined the more than 20 mostly women organizations led by the World March of Women (WMW-Pilipinas) in a march from the LRT Doroteo Jose station to Mendiola, near Malacañang.

Prior tothat, at a prearranged time in the morning, several women activists took the women-only LRT lead train cars from Tayuman and Central stations. They handed roses and leaflets to the commuters that explain the IWD and the women’s current issues while serenading them the iconic “Bread and Roses”song.

The activists then urged the passengers to ask their respective local or national candidates to deal with the issues on contractual and low-paid work that torment many Filipinos, the disastrous and mainly human-induced climate change, the unabatedviolence and discrimination against women and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community, militarization and political killings in Mindanao, and the seemingly one-sided Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement or EDCA between the US and the Philippines, which could cause more sexual assaults like the “Nicole” and Jennifer Laude cases and could also further inflame the brewing tensions in the West Philippine Sea.

Getting off at the Doroteo Jose station, the women activists then met with their colleagues waiting for them and proceeded with their march to Mendiola, where they held a program and capped off with “I am a Woman” flash dance.

Meanwhile, Sentro-Women introduced the national candidates that they would support in the May polls, after scrutinizing their platforms and holding a series of dialogues with the political hopefuls as well as consultations with key leaders and members of the labor center.

They are Walden Bello and Risa Hontiveros, both senatorial aspirants; Leni Robredo for vice-president; and the Akbayan party-list.

Other national candidates may be added after undergoing the same exhaustive process of selection. Sentro chapters at the community or municipal, city and provincial levels have the discretion to pick their local bets but must satisfy first the general qualifications laid down by the national leadership.

“Bread and Roses” was first coined in a speech – “The worker must have bread, but she must have roses, too” – by Rose Schneiderman, an American trade unionist, socialist and feminist. It is an appeal for both just wages and working condition with dignity, and one of the most memorable phrases in the labor and women’s movement in that historic era in the early 1900s in the US.

It later inspired the poet and writer James Oppenheim to write the “Bread and Roses” poem. This poem is closely associated with the successful 10-week huge strike of textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts from January to March 1912. It was first turned into a song in 1976 by activist singer-songwriter Mimi Baez Fariña.

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)

No more Rana Plaza! No more Third World sweatshops!

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World March of Women-Pilipinas Statement on the 2nd anniversary
of the Rana Plaza Tragedy in Bangladesh

WE observe today, April 24, the 2nd anniversary of what is dubbed as the world’s worst industrial accident to hit the garment industry, when the eight-story Rana Plaza building in Dhaka, Bangladesh literally crumbled killing over 1,130 people—more than half were female garment workers employed in several sweatshops there—and injured no less than 2,500.

Indeed, it was a tragedy waiting to happen. The building was designed for offices and small shops only; and the upper four floors were reportedly built or added illegally just to accommodate the garment factories. The building structures were incapable of bearing the weight and vibration of heavy machinery, as well as sustaining about 5,000 workers who work in shifts.

On the day of the tragedy, the women were hesitating to go to work as there were cracks on the pillars and celings, showing signs that the building could collapse anytime. But the workers were forced to go inside. And since the women had no choice, the women workers relented.

The colossal greed and evil complicity of the Rana Plaza property owner and the sweatshop bosses were the immediate triggers of that horrible manmade disaster. But their villainous acts were egged on in no small measure by the global clothing brands, which are aware of the flawed production model, by pressing the locals for higher but cheaper outputs. This avarice for profits and superprofits created workers who are overworked and underpaid, and their workplaces do not follow even the basic occupational health and safety standards. Thus, the garment factories that were inaptly set up in the upper floors of Rana Plaza; and thus, the “business as usual” order of the sweatshop bosses even when they were warned by government inspectors of the increasing cracks in the building, and despite the order to evacuate and close the building one day before the accident.

Two years since the tragedy, the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund endorsed by the ILO still falls short by at least $8.5 million. Benetton’s $1.1 million pledge is not only measly but also terribly late—revealing “the true colors of Benetton”—as it was announced only last week and only after it was pressured by more than 1 million people who signed a petition calling for the Italian label to “donate” to the compensation fund.

In fact, almost all brands linked to Rana Plaza have made paltry “donations,” thus failing to live up to their responsibilities to the victims. Some brands have refused to disclose their “contributions.” Moreover, practically all of them initially denied their dealings with the Bangladeshi sweatshops inside the Rana Plaza.

The World March of Women-Pilipinas, along with the Bangladeshi labor and women’s movements as well as other women activists, trade unionists, and civil society groups throughout the world, including the Clean Clothes Campaign, strongly repeat our calls for the Bangladeshi government to ensure that all the culprits in the Rana Plaza tragedy must be promptly brought to justice. Bangladesh should also enhance and fully enforce its occupational safety and health laws, while boosting the labor and trade union rights of the Bangladeshi workers.

Likewise, we reiterate our belief that the global clothing brands are equally responsible and in fact culpable especially for the deaths, injury and income losses of the garment workers and their families. All global clothing brands—including famous apparel manufacturers Benetton, Bonmarché, The Children’s Place, El Corte Inglés, Joe Fresh, Mango, Matalan, Primark, Walmart, Carrefour, Auchan, KiK and Inditex—that were dealing with the Bangladeshi garment firms in Rana Plaza should provide enough assistance to the victims and their families, and should make certain that they do business only with local companies that truly respect the rights and welfare of workers.

No more Rana Plaza!
No more Third World sweatshops!
Global clothing brands are responsible for Third World sweatshops!
Respect and uphold labor and trade union rights!
Women’s rights and workers’ rights are human rights!

World March of Women-Pilipinas
Manila, Philippines
24 April 2015