CWR opens Women’s Month 2021 with report of Filipino Women situation during pandemic

The Center for Women’s Resources presents the plight of Filipino women in different sectors in the time of the COVID-19 global pandemic in Ulat Lila 2021: Filipino Women in the Time of COVID 19, its annual contribution to the commemoration of International Working Women’s Month on March 1, Monday.

On it’s 19th year, Ulat Lila goes online as it discusses the social realities being faced by women during the world’s longest lockdown under the Duterte administration. The lack of concrete, comprehensive, and scientific plan to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside the implementation of multiple neoliberal policies favoring local and foreign corporations, imperialist countries, intensifies the economic and political crisis experienced by women and the people.

Before the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, CWR has reported that already 16 million Filipino women are economically insecure. Women further suffered multiple burdens of ensuring health and education of the family, while seeking means to augment meager income amid loss of jobs and livelihood.

CWR also notes that the current administration has committed grave human rights violations through its militarized lockdowns and relentless suppression of dissent through numerous attacks against rights defenders, activists, individuals and organizations.

The Center for Women’s Resources stands in solidarity with the call to a concrete and comprehensive plan and implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination program and demands regarding human rights, health and livelihood. Everyone is invited to attend the webinar via Zoom and Facebook Live and to know more about the relevant issues concerning women from various sectors of the society in the time of COVID-19 and lockdown.#

On the death of political prisoner Nona Espinosa’s newborn baby Carlen

Only a few months after we wept a river for Reina Nasino and her newborn Baby River, another political prisoner has lost her newborn again. We condemn the violence and cruelty of the Duterte administration that has allowed the deaths of innocent children in their own hands.

Nona Espinosa, a peasant rights advocate in Negros Oriental was around five months pregnant when she was arrested on trumped-up charges by the 62nd Infantry Battalion, along with 8 other advocates including her husband, in the early morning of September 20, 2020 in Brgy. Buenavista, Guinhulngan City.

Early on, human rights group Karapatan has immediately called for her release on humani-tarian grounds, as she was in need of pre-natal care and jail conditions will be detrimental for her and her child. However, such calls were not heeded, and she has not been provided with proper medical attention while in detention.

During delivery, she had experienced labor complications and had to undergo emergency Cesarian Section. Her baby was born with a cleft palate and was experiencing difficulty breathing. Instead of ensuring “Unang Yakap” and initiating breastfeeding, the baby was immediately handed over to Nona’s family, and Nona was sent back to jail only three days after a major surgery. Nona was left with no postpartum care, while her newborn had to fight to survive without his mother holding him close.

In 2018, the Nutrisyon at Kalusugan ng Mag-nanay Act (RA 11148), was enacted to ensure facilities and services for mothers during pregnancy until 2 years from birth. Furthermore, the Philippine government has committed itself to adhere to the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders. The rules state the needs of pregnant or breastfeeding mothers, their entitlement to receive qualified advice on health and diet, adequate and timely food, a healthy environment and regular exercise opportunities, as well as their post-natal medical and nutritional needs. We demand the government to uphold such policies.

We do not forget how anguished we are at how Reina and baby River were treated. We are reminded of Andrea Rosal and her newborn baby Diona in 2014 who suffered the same fate. The cruel treatment of women political prisoners and their newborns clearly exemplifies how ruthless this government is to women and mothers who take a stand for human rights.

We reiterate our call to release Nona Espinosa and all political prisoners. We condemn the continuing imprisonment of activists and rights defenders on baseless charges, created to stifle the fight for the people’s democratic rights.

Women’s group warns against ‘Zoom-bombing’

by Willie Casas, Manila Standard, 22 April 2020 

The Center for Women’s Resources (CWR) warned on Tuesday against the rising “zoom-bombing” and online attacks against organizations that offer services amid lockdown and threats of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), as its web seminar on violence against women was attacked by trolls and zoom-bombers last week.On Friday, the CWR, together with Gabriela National Alliance of Women, hosted a back-to-back online orientation on violence against women (VAW) and VAW legal clinic in response to the need of many women who are vulnerable to abuse during this pandemic COVID-19 lockdown.

CWR education and training coordinator Miriam Grafil was in the middle of her discussion on basic orientation on violence against women when unknown trolls started drawing vulgar images and words on the screen.“Continuing advocacy work in the time of COVID-19 pandemic has been incredibly challenging especially for non-profit organizations like CWR. With little resources, we try to respond to the needs of women,” CWR executive director Jojo Guan said.

“The least we can do is to continue educating women and the public through online platform. It is disheartening that there are groups and individuals who attack organizations and peddle hate and disinformation,” Guan remarked.While zoom-bombing and online trolling happen in many other countries, online attacks in the country suggests a trend, it targets organizations and individuals critical of the government and its response to COVID-19.

“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine government has been notorious in creating and spreading fake news. They have reportedly launched smear campaigns against opposition and legitimate organizations,” Guan explained.According to various reports, the Philippines has become the epicenter of troll farms that churn out fake contents – news, narratives, photos – on various social media platform. In many instances, the Philippine government has been criticized for peddling fake news.“Online platforms, like social media and video conference applications are in danger of being weaponized in this critical time of lockdown. Since mobility is limited, the public has no choice but to rely on media, especially on social media,” Guan explained.“Thus, let us ensure that our right to accurate, truthful information is upheld. Likewise, we should fight for any attempts to curtail our rights to speak against the abuses of people in power,” Guan concluded.

‘Ondoy’ women survivors still struggling to get back on their feet

‘Ondoy’ women survivors still struggling to get back on their feet

Written by: Jhesset O. Enano, Philippine Daily Inquirer

(Last of three parts)

MANILA, Philippines — From on top of a cabinet at the second floor of their house in Marikina City, Nora Cencil and her three young children watched in fear as the brown and murky floodwaters threatened to inundate their perch.

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