Championing women’s calls for jobs, education, democracy, and the protection of human rights, Gabriela-Southern Mindanao Region, led by Chairperson Jean Lindo, emphasized the role of women in resisting the current administration’s ‘repressive’ policies.
In commemoration of the annual International Working Women’s Day, Gabriela alongside several progressive groups in the region held a mass mobilization participated by around 250 individuals at the Roxas Freedom Park last March 8.
“Women should continue the struggle against the Duterte regime’s neoliberal and fascist policies and pronouncements. We call on Dabawenyos and the Filipino people to rise, resist, and unite for peace based on social justice and democracy,” Lindo declared in a press release.
Representatives of different people’s organizations voiced their grievances on ‘anti-poor’ policies of the current administration due to price surges brought by the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law and the Rice Tarrification Law, the Build-Build-Build program, and the local jeepney modernization program.
Gabriela further condemned the government’s ongoing efforts to railroad certain laws, emphasizing the ‘fascist’ nature of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, which has just recently been passed on its third and final reading, and the reimplementation of mandatory Reserved Officers Training Corps (ROTC).
A multi-sectoral gathering, the said protest brought to the fore various women’s voices from workers’ groups, Lumad communities, the youth, and the agricultural sector, among others.
Representing the Unity of Lumad Women, Lorena Mandacawan stressed the importance of participation among her fellow women in their struggle for self-determination.
“Ang importante para sa amoa [ang] mailhan mi isip mga Lumad diha sa among komunidad para makita nga ang mga Kalumaran duna pu’y kaisog para mu-istorya kung unsa ang ilang mga karapatan.
“Syempre naa diha ang pagrespeto sa mga katungod sa kababainhan, nilabi na karon nga mas taas ang mga natala namo nga apektado nga kababainhan partikular sa [mga isyu nga gina-atubang] namo mga Lumad,” she said.
Meanwhile, Irish Natinga from the Gabriela Youth said that the protest was a manifestation of the continued struggle to push for women’s rights.
“We have to remember na for a very long time, daghan kaayo mga abuses nga na-experience ang mga kababainhan. Although slowly na recognize na siya, pero di pa gyud nato ma fully declare na ang mga kababaihan dili gina discriminate sa iba’t ibang sector sa lipunan. Important nga i-commemorate nato ni bilang pag celebrate na ang mga babae dili dapat angay gina yurak-yurakan kay capable sila to make change,” she noted.
The International Working Women’s Day is an annual event that seeks to highlight women’s struggles, especially in the workplace, and to call for reforms to improve their conditions.