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. #

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.