2 young women activists & environmental defenders latest victims of state terror in Central Luzon

2 young women activists & environmental defenders latest victims of state terror in Central Luzon

The Center for Women’s Resources raises alarm over the recent abduction of human rights and environmental defenders in the Philippines. Last September 2, two community organizers, Jonila Castro, 21, and Jhed Tamano, 22, were abducted by four armed men in Barangay Lati, Orion, Bataan. 

The two young women had been experiencing surveillance and harassment while conducting an investigation in the community regarding the impacts of the Manila Bay reclamation project on fisherfolk’s livelihood and flooding in the area. The two were preparing for relief operations and consultation in communities in Bataan, days before they were abducted. 

At least 23 land reclamation projects have been approved in Manila Bay, an important fishing ground and hub of marine biodiversity in the country. These projects in the provinces of Bataan, Pampanga, Bulacan, and Cavite have caused the displacement of coastal communities, the decline of fish catch, and the deforestation of mangroves, ultimately contributing to the decline in fisherfolk’s livelihood. The permits for the projects were completed under the Duterte Administration between 2019-2022, these builds are linked with Chinese construction company China Communications Construction Co. (CCCC).

While the Marcos administration has ordered an indefinite suspension of 22 major land reclamation projects in Manila Bay, this is not enough to address the long-term impacts of these projects on the livelihood of fisherfolks. It is also crucial to recognize that this suspension was the result of the relentless and persistent advocacy efforts of local rights groups and civil society organizations.

What is also concerning is the surge in acts of violence and aggression targeting community organizers and environmental rights defenders who oppose the reclamation project. The abduction of Castro and Tamano is only the recent spate of these attacks. In October 2019, Cora Agovida, then spokesperson for Gabriela Manila and a campaigner against land reclamation was illegally arrested and detained for two years. Three other anti-land reclamation activists Ram Carlo Bautista, Alma Moran, and Reina Mae Nasino were arrested in November of the same year.

The Center of Women’s Resources joins the families, fellow volunteers, and anti-reclamation groups in demanding the safe return of Jonila and Jhed, in calling to stop attacks against community organizers and rights defenders, and in putting an end to state-sponsored terror. #

Women’s group sounds alarm over lack of transparency in OP budget deliberations

Women’s group sounds alarm over lack of transparency in OP budget deliberations

The Center for Women’s Resources raises alarm over the swift termination of budget deliberations for the Office of the President (OP) amid significant concerns over the misallocation of Filipino taxpayers’ money to bloated confidential and travel funds.

Within ten minutes, the House leadership moved to terminate budget deliberations for the OP purportedly out of “parliamentary courtesy”. Last week, the same was accorded to Vice President Sara Duterte when the budget deliberation was concluded in less than 30 minutes. This long-standing tradition of parliamentary courtesy extended to high-ranking government officials must stop. The practice clearly only favors a few high-ranking individuals over public interest and undermines the principles of transparency, accountability, and responsible fiscal management.  

The President and the House need to be reminded that they bear a solemn responsibility to exercise prudence and transparency when allocating and utilizing Filipino taxpayers’ money and the proposed OP budget does not seem to align with responsible and careful management of financial resources.  

The proposed budget of the OP constitutes 1% of the total FY 2024 NEP. This includes P4.56 billion for Confidential and Intelligence Funds and P1.4 billion for travel expenses. Aside from the requested budget, the OP will be in charge of P733.2 billion worth of Special Purpose Funds whose program allocations are not defined. 

If passed, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will hold a whopping P739.1 billion worth of Presidential Pork for FY 2024, 42.5% larger than that of 2023. This is bigger than the combined budget of the Department of Health (P199.45 billion), Department of Agriculture (P105.91 billion), and Department of Social Welfare and Development (P209.66 billion). It is concerning how questionable budget proposals, highly susceptible to corruption and wasting of public funds, are easily approved while subsidies and economic assistance to the poor continue to receive a meager portion of the budget. 

The Center for Women’s Resources joins rights groups in scrutinizing the proposed budget of the Office of the President, and in demanding the rightful allocation of public funds for social services and addressing the worsening economic crisis.


Solidarity to the Rohingya people!

Solidarity to the Rohingya people!

The Center for Women’s Resources stands in solidarity with the brave Rohingya women and people as we mark the 6th anniversary of the Rohingya genocide. Today, we honor and remember the countless lives lost and the suffering inflicted upon them.

We condemn the atrocities committed against the Rohingya community, particularly women, and demand justice for the grave human rights violations. Our fight for justice is not only a demand but a necessity to ensure accountability for those responsible – the Myanmar military and government.

Beyond seeking justice, we also recognize the urgent need to address the root causes of this systemic violence and persecution. Plunder and extraction of resources played a significant role in violating the rights of the Rohingya people. The richness of natural resources and fertile land of the Rakhine region has attracted economic interests seeking to exploit these resources, including logging, mining, and agriculture companies. We condemn this plunder, extraction, and land grabbing that fuels and perpetuates violence and discrimination. 

Likewise, we urgently demand immediate support for the Rohingya people who continue to endure unbearable conditions within overcrowded refugee camps devoid of basic necessities such as clean water, healthcare, and education. We pledge to stand alongside the Rohingya people, to advocate for their rights – including their right to citizenship, to seek reparation, and ensure their right to safely return to their homeland. 

Finally, we reaffirm our commitment to support all forms of resistance of all the Myanmar people against the military rule and authoritarian regime. The resistance movement in Myanmar represents the struggle of an entire nation, including the Rohingya people, in fighting for justice and democracy. The people of Myanmar deserve to live in a society that upholds their fundamental rights, values their diversity, and promotes peace based on social justice. #

Unite against the return of the Marcoses to Malacanang! Unite for genuine freedom, development, and democracy!

The Center for Women’s Resources joins the commemoration of the 1986 EDSA People Power that led to the fall of the Marcos Dictatorship as we unite to prevent them from returning to Malacanang in the coming National Elections.

Today, we remember those who have been killed, tortured, disappeared, raped, detained, and many others who lost their homes and livelihood during Martial Law. We vow to never forget the attacks against the people, to hold the Marcoses accountable for their ill-gotten wealth, to combat disinformation and historical revision, and to never again allow them to return and maintain power.

The militant and arduous struggle of the Filipino people to defy one of the darkest times in our history remains the legacy of EDSA People Power. Women have stood at the forefront, from the streets to the countryside, to challenge the dictatorship and to assert genuine freedom, development, and democracy.

While the following administrations have maintained power and control to the ruling elites in the guise of democracy, as they continued to be slaves of imperialist masters through neoliberal policies and measures that suppress the people’s democratic rights, EDSA People Power remains to be a reminder of people’s unity and decisiveness to clamor for change.

The same militancy fuels the women and people’s movement until today, in their continued commitment in pursuing genuine social change amid worsening attacks against human rights defenders and the people during the Duterte administration.

In their campaign for the two highest seats in office for the 2022 National Elections, Marcos Jr. spews empty rhetoric on “unity” while Sara Duterte vows to continue what his father has started. Thus, a continuation of ballooning debt, skyrocketing prices, misogyny, rabid human rights violations and failed pandemic response. There is no basis of unity with them when there is no justice to their atrocities.

We call on women and all Filipino people to commemorate People Power by rejecting tyrants, plunderers, and human rights violators, and prevent them from returning to power. We must work hand-in-hand to fight their dirty tricks of disinformation, fraud, and violations especially towards the national elections. Ultimately, we must continue to exercise our right to political participation beyond the 2022 elections.