Hundreds of women gather to craft the 2022 Women’s Electoral Agenda

Women community leaders, activists, and advocates convened for the hybrid 2022 National Summit this March 6, Sunday, to craft the Women’s Agenda for the 2022 National Elections.

More than 100 women from Luzon joined the face-to-face gathering at the Quezon City University Auditorium in Novaliches, Quezon City, while participants from Visayas and Mindanao joined the virtual conference.

The national summit started with a discussion of the situation of women in the last six years. Participants then joined the workshops to raise their local situations and their demands to build the agenda.

In the afternoon, the Women’s Agenda were collated and presented to local and national politicians to sign their commitment in forwarding women’s issues as part of their electoral agenda.

The Women’s Agenda

The Agenda disclosed the concerns that women want to put forward to the candidates. It included the issues on employment, national industrialization, agricultural support, human rights, assurance of sovereignty, free from violence, and non-discrimination of marginalized sectors including LGBTQ and indigenous peoples, among others.

“Women have suffered the brunt of a worsening socioeconomic crisis in the last six years,” said Cham Perez, Executive Director of the Center for Women’s Resources, a research institution for women.

Perez said that women’s unemployment rate remained high while those employed suffered low wages and job insecurity. She noted that neoliberal policies of liberalization and privatization made it even more difficult for women to realize decent work, stable livelihood, food security, and access to social services such as health and education.

“The minimum wage has not increased since 2018, while prices of basic commodities continue to rise since the implementation of the TRAIN law in the beginning of 2018,” Perez explained.

Perez also noted that women’s economic insecurity made them more vulnerable to different forms of abuse and violence.

Women’s participation in the coming elections

Babae, Bantayan ang Eleksyon (BaBaE Network), an election watchdog network of individuals and organizations, reminded women to scrutinize platforms and programs of candidates. BaBaE Network also raised alarm over reports of election irregularities in the months leading to election day.

“We must remain vigilant during the campaign season, as we move closer to May 9. We enjoin everyone to watch our votes and to immediately report any forms of election fraud,” said Professor Pau Hernando, BaBae Network spokesperson.

Hernando suggested that women should support candidates who forwarded the women’s agenda, and should reject those who have records of misogyny, corruption, fraud, and violence.

The need to mobilize beyond the electoral season

During the summit, participants also affirmed the need to organize and mobilize beyond the 2022 elections.

“While we see the 2022 National Elections to forward women’s issues and concerns, we believe that our political participation should not be limited in casting our votes on May 9,” remarked Gert Libang, National Chairperson of GABRIELA National Alliance of Women.

She explained that the current political system dominated by elites resulted to limited opportunities for societal change.

“The change that we want must continue to organize ourselves and mobilize to raise our grievances and clamor for genuine social change”, she concluded.

The National Women Summit was organized by GABRIELA – Alliance of Filipino Women, Center for Women’s Resources, Babae Bantayan ang Eleksyon, GABRIELA-Youth, Kilusan ng Manggagawang Kababaihan, Amihan – National Federation of Peasant Women, BAI Indigenous Women, Girls for Peace, and Bahaghari.

On the ratification of the amendments of the Public Services Act

On the ratification of the amendments of the Public Services Act

The Center for Women’s Resources raises alarm over the ratification of the amendments to the Public Services Act, which entails 100% foreign ownership to public services such as telecommunication and mass media, power generation, and the transportation sector such as railways, airlines, and logistical facilities.

Ease in restrictions on foreign ownership of public services will mean further control of private corporations and deregulation over prices of public services, burdening Filipino women consumers of higher costs of expenses on goods and services such as electricity, internet, and public transportation. Such services will be more inaccessible to the public, who have suffered the most from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his last SONA, President Duterte certified this bill as urgent, along with other bills that will further liberalize the economy as the road to recovery from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Up to the last months of his term, the Duterte Administration pushes neoliberal measures to ensure profit for foreign investors and multinational corporations while Filipinos continue to suffer rising prices of commodities, job losses, and lack of opportunities.

Further liberalization of public goods and services is not the solution. On the contrary it creates deeper economic problems for future generations. Genuine pandemic recovery should be focused on building back differently, veering away from the same failed economic policies that essentially violate women and people’s right to development. Instead, more sustainable measures should be prioritized – ensuring public healthcare and social protection, increasing wages, providing higher subsidies in domestic agriculture and rural development, and building a national industry. #

Stand united against development aggression and state-sponsored attacks! Fight for land, food, and justice on International Rural Women’s Day!

Stand united against development aggression and state-sponsored attacks!  Fight for land, food, and justice on International Rural Women’s Day!

The Center for Women’s Resources joins rural women, peasant leaders and advocates in the call to defend peasant women and resist rural development aggression on the commemoration of the International Day of Rural Women today.

Majority of people in the rural areas in the Philippines are peasants and indigenous peoples who have long been suffering from landlessness and land-grabbing, inequality, and displacement from their homes and livelihood. Aside from these, rural women and girls suffer multiple burdens of domestic work, violence and lack of social services such as health and education.

It is ironic that while the UN’s theme “Rural women cultivating good food for all” signifies the crucial, yet often undermined role of rural women in ensuring food security, the global food systems is persistently dominated by a corporate-driven agricultural agenda. This resulted in even more hunger, poverty, and health crises, amid the pandemic.

Since the Philippines’ accession to the GATT-WTO Agreement on Agriculture three decades, ago as well as the country’s commitments to the International Monetary Fund-World Bank (IMF-WB) group, past and present government’s laws and policies forward liberalization in the agriculture sector in the name of “global competitiveness” and “free trade.”

The Philippine government’s subservience to the neoliberal agenda has done nothing but to secure superprofit for multinational agricultural corporations from the blood and sweat of farm laborers, small farmers and fisherfolk. Multinational agriculture giants such as SUMIFRU in Mindanao rake in profits as agricultural workers suffer poor working conditions and depressingly low wages.
A women farm worker from Nagkakaisang Manggagawang Kababaihan ng Sumifru shares, “Ang working conditions sa SUMIFRU… walang kasiguraduhan sa benepisyo. Kontraktwal ang trabaho, at mahaba ang oras ng paggawa. “Dahil sa mahaba ang oras ng trabaho, kulang na kulang ang oras sa mga anak at sa bahay…Hinggil naman sa safety sa lugar ng pinagtatrabahuhan, nakakalanghap po kami ng hazardous chemicals at walang sapat na proteksyon.”

In addition, foreign loan-driven large-scale infrastructure projects in the countryside plunder the country’s natural resources while destroying the ancestral lands and cultural heritage of indigenous people. It poses risks and irreversible damage to their communities and sources of livelihood.
The construction of Jalaur River Dam in Calinog, Iloilo, a Php 11.2-billion mega dam construction project under the Duterte administration’s flagship infrastructure program, Build, Build, Build, will result in massive dislocation and flooding in the surrounding communities. Around 17,000 Tumanduks will lose homes, lives, and livelihood, and at least nine communities will be submerged. Surrounding areas will also be more prone to landslides and flooding. Moreover, heightened military presence in the area has sowed fear and unrest among indigenous communities. In addition, on December 30, 2020, nine IP leaders who strongly campaigned against the dam in Calinog and Tapaz were killed and 16 others, including six women, were arrested by the PNP and military who reportedly served dubious search warrants and planted firearms and explosives as pieces of evidence.

As the economic and political crisis worsens, state forces point their guns towards rural people’s resistance. According to AMIHAN, of the 340 farmers killed during the Duterte administration, 44 were peasant women. Sixty-five (65) of the 81 peasant women political prisoners were imprisoned under Duterte.

Relentless state-sponsored attacks, red-tagging, arrests and killings did not stop rural women from leading their communities in activities and campaigns to respond to their needs. In General Nakar, Quezon, women farmers of Kiday Community Farmers Association are leading organic farming and training for food processing initiatives to ensure their food and incomes.

These practices of organic farming, communal gardens, community-based healthcare, as well as bungkalan allowed them to provide sustenance for their communities. They have employed sustainable alternatives to collectively combat hunger and lack of support. They have also launched campaigns for the Php 15,000 agricultural subsidy and aid for those affected by the pandemic. Together with other sectors of society, they have marched hand-in-hand against state terror.

On the International Day of Rural Women, we reiterate our demand to the government to respond to the urgent demands of rural people. We enjoin all advocates, rights defenders, and supporters to stand in solidarity with rural women in the fight for land, food, and justice for all. #

𝗪𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗻’𝘀 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗰𝗵 𝗡𝗚𝗢 𝘀𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱𝘀 𝗮𝗹𝗮𝗿𝗺 𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗽𝗼𝗹𝗶𝗰𝗲-𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗽𝗲𝘁𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗿𝗮𝗽𝗲, 𝗲𝘅𝗽𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗲𝘀 𝘀𝘂𝗽𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝗮𝘀𝘀𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗮𝗺𝗲𝗻𝗱𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗔𝗻𝘁𝗶-𝗥𝗮𝗽𝗲 𝗟𝗮𝘄

𝗪𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗻’𝘀 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗰𝗵 𝗡𝗚𝗢 𝘀𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱𝘀 𝗮𝗹𝗮𝗿𝗺 𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗽𝗼𝗹𝗶𝗰𝗲-𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗽𝗲𝘁𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗿𝗮𝗽𝗲, 𝗲𝘅𝗽𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗲𝘀 𝘀𝘂𝗽𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝗮𝘀𝘀𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗮𝗺𝗲𝗻𝗱𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗔𝗻𝘁𝗶-𝗥𝗮𝗽𝗲 𝗟𝗮𝘄

The Center for Women’s Resources raises concern against another police-perpetrated rape of a female rider in a checkpoint in Mabalacat, Pampanga on October 8.

Police-perpetrated violence against women has been a systemic issue, despite promises of reforms in the PNP. CWR records at least seven reported cases of state-perpetrated violence against women since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 to the present, including the rape-slay of a minor by two policemen in Ilocos Sur last year, and at least two cases of police-perpetrated rape against women who have been apprehended for violating quarantine measures. There have also been reports of “sex-for-pass” especially during the enhanced community quarantine. Men in uniform have abused the strict implementation of lockdowns to further violate women’s rights.

CWR also notes that there have been 56 police officers who have been involved in 33 cases of abuse against women, including 16 cases of rape during the first two years of Pres. Duterte in office, from July 2016 to March 2018.

Pres. Duterte with his long list of disparaging remarks against women, blatantly enables perpetrators to commit violence against women. He himself has repeatedly and proudly violated women, and has never shown remorse in doing so.

CWR expresses utmost support in the passage of the amendments of the Anti-Rape Law. Higher penalties need to be imposed on perpetrators who gravely abuse their power and commit such heinous crimes.

Women and children who are victims of violence have suffered too much, with the delays in the pursuit of justice, much more when perpetrators are in uniform. We must remain vigilant in holding perpetrators accountable and ensuring that those who continue to support such acts be removed from power. #

Prioritize women’s needs in the 2022 budget

The Center for Women’s Resources joins the online protest against the railroading of the 2022 National Budget in the House of Representatives today, September 30.

We stand firm that the 2022 National Budget must be focused on pandemic response and genuine economic recovery, as well as providing social services for women and children amid hunger, joblessness, and poverty.

We challenge the administration to reallocate funds to genuinely respond to women and people’s needs!