GABRIELA leads nation in celebrating the International Women's Day,

calls for junking the VFA and the ouster of Arroyo

 

Mendiola

 

Davao City    Negros   Negros (March 1)      Hong Kong     New York City   Pagpupugay sa Kababaihan ni JB-L

 

March 8, 2009   Updated March 19, 2009

 

 

Gabreila Women's Partylist representaives Luz Ilagan and Liza Maza with other woemn leaders

 

It is the height of absurdity. That it is now, at a time when we have a woman-president, that the Filipina is even more oppressed and disenfranchised. Someone like Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should be able to empathize. Someone like her should know how difficult it has become – to live as a woman in this country. A president like her should be able to imagine the kind of hunger the Filipina has been subjected to, and the fears that eat at her heart everyday.

Instead, all we’ve gotten from GMA, with or without a crisis, is a more difficult life. And this is so not because she’s a woman but because she’s of her social class, her upbringing, her ideology. Absolutely nothing has gotten better for the Filipina since GMA’s presidency, nothing to remind us that we have a sister in the country’s highest office, nothing to tell us that we are cared for and loved by this president.

 

---- Congress of Teachers and Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND-National)

 

KADAMAY Chair Carmen Diunida GABRIELA Chair Emeritus Mo. Mary John Mananzan  
/p

/p
Photos courtesy of RVLens, JMT, AT and CJ unless otherwise stated
           
           

 

March 02, 2009
 

UPHOLD THE MILITANT TRADITION OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson
International League of Peoples' Struggle

In solidarity and with utmost joy, the International League of People's Struggle joins today the celebration of women in general and their revolutionary struggle for emancipation and liberation from imperialism, feudalism and patriarchalism. We remember and honor millions of women who trailblazed and paved the path for women's liberation movement.

Women have fought long and hard to protect their families, communities and peoples. In various periods in world history there have been women who led their people in fighting despotic rulers and invaders. Some examples are the heroic struggles of the Vietnamese Trung sisters in 39 AD, the Philippines'Gabriela Silang in 1763 and the women in the Paris Commune and Petrograd uprising.

IWD forum 09 Innu We commemorate today the historic ties between the women's movement and the proletarian movement for the very concept of a day celebrating women and women's militant inter-nationalism originated from the working class movement.

Women, such as Clara Zetkin, Alexandra Kollontai and Rosa Luxembourg, have inspired others to the indispensable and imperative role of women in the struggle against imperialism, feudalism and patriarchy. (Photo - International Women's Day Forum in Montreal, Feb. 28, 2009)

Especially at this time when the US imperialists have perverted the noble cause of women's emancipation against feudal patriarchy and so-called Muslim fundamentalism to justify invasion, occupation and wars of aggression, women need to reaffirm the militant and revolutionary traditions of their movement.

Reducing women's liberation to simply a matter of individual rights or a trivialized gender war against the opposite sex, US-led imperialism seeks to hide the fact that its definition of equality is no more than the right to be as exploited and oppressed as the next propertyless person or being as mere sex object of male chauvinism and prurience. US-led imperialism pretends to be an advocate of women's rights while transforming them into chattel for multinational corporations and commodity for the labor and sex markets. US-led imperialism proposes to bring "democratic rights" to women even as it maintains by brute force, in alliance with local reactionaries, economies that create an endless supply of impoverished women to exploit in their own homes or in sweatshops .

Under global capitalism, women comprise 75% of 1.3 billion who subsist on less than $1 per day. Majority of the 800 million impoverished and hungry are women and children even though women produce 60% of the world's food supply. In the developed countries, women's benefits - from health care to overtime pay - are under assault by corporate management.

Governments are also cutting social benefits, reducing pregnancy leaves and welfare support. Even within the United States itself, hard-won women's rights and welfare are eroded and eradicated to satisfy the lust for power and profits of monopoly capitalists and their minions.

Western nations, while reaping profits off underpaid migrant labor, enact xenophobic laws. To stifle protests against such unjust laws, the same governments pass legislation restrictive of rights and freedoms such as the Patriot Act that enable them to repress immigrants.

Roughly 50% of the world's migrants are women. Hence, the irony that these same governments that stoke anti-immigrant sentiments tolerate disguised forms of trafficking - i.e., official programs for importing workers, the mail-order bride system, to mention but two.

This is the world that women's number one enemy, imperialism, has created for womankind: a world of oppression and exploitation of entire nations, the working people and women, a world of intolerable suffering and relentless violence unleashed by the imperialists and their minions.

But imperialism, feudalism and patriarchalism are facing the growing strength and active resistance of a determined women's liberation movement. All over the world, women are involved in different forms of struggle as they carry their fight in the picket lines and trade unions, street demonstrations, parliaments and urban centers and they are engaged in people's war for liberation.

To the women who must try to survive in this world of darkness, the revolutionary traditions of March 8th are both illuminating and enlightening. Let women assert their rights to those traditions and act in concert with their revolutionary brothers to change the world. Let them forge a strong women's anti-imperialist front and solidarity the world over.

The International League of Peoples' Struggle is more than ever resolved to promote the crucially important role and initiative of the women and women's organizations within and outside the League in advancing and realizing their own distinct demands as women, cooperating with the menfolk as equal partners and contributing to the general movement for national liberation, democracy and socialism against imperialism and all reaction.

Long live the women of the world!
Persevere in the struggle against imperialism and reaction!
Raise high the banner of the women's liberation movement!

 

GABRIELA Secretary General Emmi de Jesus

Sen. Jamby Madrigal

Photo by MK/SALINLAHI

BAYAN MUNA Rep. Satur Ocampo

Former Sen. Leticia Shahani

Photo by Kenneth Guda of Pinoy Weekly

           

 

NEWS RELEASE
08 March 2009

For Reference: Rep. Liza Maza 0920-9134540
Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan 0920 9213221

Public Information Officers: Abby Valenzuela 0915-7639619
Francis Uyanguren 0929-4511305


FILIPINO WOMEN FACE RUTHLESS ATTACKS UNDER ARROYO GOVERNMENT – GABRIELA SOLONS

“The condition of the Filipino women has gotten from bad to worse eight years after President Arroyo took over in Malacañang. President Arroyo’s government has spawned widespread misery, poverty, unbridled corruption, and violence against Filipino women, with her contemptuous servility to foreign interests and flagrant perpetuation of herself in power.”

This is the statement of Gabriela Women’s Party Reps. Liza Maza and Luz Ilagan today as they joined thousands of women in the march and protest rally commemorating the International Women’s Day. Colorful hats donned by members of Gabriela depicted the anti-women policies of the Arroyo administration.

According to the Gabriela solons, the Filipino women are the ones hardest hit by the financial crisis with the spate of retrenchments, reduction of work hours and wages, and increased flexibilization of labor. Women comprise the majority of the 45,000 workers laid off in the past five months.

“The relief measures that she prescribed were merely windbags of promises that cannot address the impact of the global financial crisis and pressing needs of workers and their families. Worse, her government legitimizes labor contractualization and justifies the dirt-poor levels of wages and benefits,” Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza said.

“To add insult to injury, funds of the workers in the Social Security System (SSS) are being eyed for the economic stimulus package while depriving the members of much needed loans and other benefits when they are laid off,” she added.

Meanwhile, Rep. Luz Ilagan decried the Arroyo administration’s intensive labor export policy that resulted to a diaspora of Filipino women workers. The record shows that 3,722 Overseas Filipino workers were forced to leave the country per day in which 7 out of ten of these OFWs are women.

“Women bear the brunt of Arroyo’s one-way economic policies. Her labor export policy subjects women OFWs not only to unfair labor practices, but to different types of abuses and exploitation such as sexual and physical abuse in foreign lands as well. Despite overseas workers being the saving grace of the Philippine economy, Mrs. Arroyo hardly shows any concern for our so called modern day heroes as evident in the lack of concrete and immediate measures to alleviate their condition,” Ilagan stressed.

 

 

 

According to Ilagan, the involvement of President Arroyo and her own family in the infinite scandals, anomalous contracts, lies and bribes bespeaks of her interests in plundering the coffers of the Filipino people.

Maza also hit the bloody record of human rights violations of the current administration. Since 2001, there were 933 victims of extra-judicial killings recorded, 107 of which are women, while there were 1,707 victims of illegal detention, 271 of which were women and 85 victims were children.

“President Arroyo has placed the Philippines as the most dangerous place to live for women in all of Asia and even the whole world. What is more deplorable is the fact that not one of these cases was resolved up to this day and the numbers,” Maza lamented.

“Her rabid adherence to unequal US-RP agreements such as the Visiting Forces Agreement is further jeopardizing the Filipino women to all forms of abuse and exploitation, while undermining our national sovereignty. She has not only deprived justice from Nicole but more so denied every Filipina her right and dignity,” Maza said.

The Gabriela solons concluded that as all these miseries inflicted by US-Arroyo continue, more and more Filipino women will troop to the streets for a change in leadership and governance.




--
Gabriela Women's Party National Headquarters
118 Scout Rallos, Brgy. Sacred Heart,
Quezon City
Telefax: (632) 9295342
Email: gabrielawomensparty@gmail.com
Website: www.gabrielawomensparty.net

Office of Gabriela Rep. Liza Largoza Maza
Rm 309 South Wing Bldg.,
House of Representatives, Quezon City
Telefax: (632) 9316268
Email: lizalmaza@yahoo.com

Office of Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan
Rm. 601 South Wing Bldg.
House of Representatives, Quezon City
Telefax: (632) 9315586
E-mail: repluzilagan@gmail.com

           

 

ANG BABAE SA PAGDARALITA
Joi Barrios, Bayan Women's Desk

Babae akong sinasakmal ng kahirapan.
Kahirapan na mistulang
ahas sa damuhan,
maliksi ang galaw,
nagbabadya ang nakasangang dila,
makamandag ang kagat.
Pumupulupot ang ulupong,
itong paghihikahos,
sa aking katawan,
at tumatakas ang lakas.
Nakatitig ang walang talukap
na mga mata ng sawa,
Nanlilisik,
pagkat batid na walang palya
sa paghatid ng lason
ang pangil ng pagdaralita.

Anong gagawin ng babae
sa kanyang karukhaan?
Tumawag kaya kay Darna?
Lipad, Darna, Lipad?
Kristala, Kristala, kami ay iligtas!
Zsazsa Zsaturna,
Palayain kami, Mama!
Huwag, huwag.
Ang paglaya sa hirap,
ay wala sa bayani ng pantasya.

Nasa ating mga babae ang pakikibaka!
Kung paanong sa gabi at sa araw
ay wala tayong humpay sa paggawa,
Kung paanong magkasabay na lumalaban
at nag-aaruga,
Matibay ang dibdib pagkat mapagkalinga
ang ating pag-ibig.
Sulong at makibaka!
Tagpasin ang ulo ng sawa!
Ang kahirapan ay maiigpawan
Kung ipaglalaban, na ang pagbawi,
ang pag-angking muli,
sa yaman ng bayan.
ay ating karapatan.
Sulong, makibaka, lumaban!


Tula Para Kay “Nicole”

HUWAG KANG LUMUHA, AKING BAYAN
(Pasintabi kay Amado V. Hernandez)

Huwag,
huwag iluha ang dinanas.
Katulad mo’y hindi si Huli,
Na nasawi sa nawalang puri.
Katulad mo’y hindi si Sisa,
Na binaliw ng hirap at hinagpis.
Huwag,
huwag tumangis
sa tradhedyang sinapit.

Ang nilapastangan ay di lamang katawan,
Ang dinahas ay di lamang ang biktimang hinalay,
At ang gahasa
ay hindi lamang,
hindi lamang gahasa.

Pagkat anong bayan itong bayan pa rin ng dayuhan?
Tayo ba’y mamalimos, idaraing ang katarungan?
Huwag, huwag lumuha aking bayan.
Di magiging kawawa ang kapalaran
Kung sa iyong palad ay hahawakan.
Laging isaisip,
na ang kaibuturan ng dibdib ay busilak
pagkat di kailaman nasasalat.
Nasa pagkakabit-bisig ang pag-angkin ng tinig:
“Layas dayuhan, sa bayan ko’y lumayas!”

Joi Barrios, Bagong Alyasang Makabayan (BAYAN) Women’s Desk
TOWNS, BATCH 2004
Ika-29 ng Marso 2006

 

 

Actress Maria Isabel Lopez reads a poem by Joi Barrios
 
     
     

 

           
           

 

News Release
08 March 2009

Reference: Emmi de Jesus, Secretary General, 371-2302 / 0917-3221203

GABRIELA leads thousands in Women's Day march against VFA and Arroyo

Wave upon wave of women brandishing purple banners joined the commemoration of March 8 International Women's Day lead by the militant women's group GABRIELA. "Junk Visiting Forces Agreement" and "End Arroyo Puppetry" were their resounding calls as they gathered in Welcome Rotunda and later marched to Mendiola Bridge, at the foot of Malacañang.

"There is no better time than on Women's Day for thousands of Filipinas all over the country to come forward, reclaim the dignity of women and defend the sovereignty of our Motherland against the ravaging of US intervention. Today we will show the perfidious woman in Malacañang, that unlike her, we stand with the Filipino people and we will fight to end any and all forms of unequal relations with the United States government," said Emmi de Jesus, GABRIELA secretary general.

According to De Jesus, the problems besetting Filipino women stems from the continuing unequal relations between the United States and the Philippines. "The capitalist crisis of overproduction in the United States impacts on the export-oriented and import-dependent Philippine economy and had caused the current massive retrenchment of tens of thousands of Filipinos. Most Filipinos who lose their jobs, either here or abroad, are women," said De Jesus.

The women's group said that for every 100 workers that are laid off, 70 to 80 are women. "Displaced workers here and abroad adds to the millions of unemployed which live in hand-to-mouth existence amid soaring prices of goods and services."

"The susceptibility of the Philippines can only be attributed to a shamelessly servile Arroyo government that cannot even muster indignation even as Filipinas are being raped and denied justice by the US military," said De Jesus.

The women's group demands the immediate scrapping of the VFA especially when the Supreme Court ordered the transfer of detention of L/Cpl. Daniel Smith under Philippine authorities last February 11. Smith was the soldier found guilty of raping 21-year "Nicole" in Subic in 2005. Then in February 24, a court marshal case against another US soldier for raping a Filipina in Okinawa, Japan was dismissed by the US Army.

"Arroyo has consistently shown she is a shame to Filipino women. For years since she has occupied the seat of power in Malacañang, she has cheated and robbed women and their families. In the midst of the current global crisis, Arroyo peddles Filipinas to foreign economies as migrant workers to keep the failing Philippine economy afloat. The Arroyo regime had killed many honorable women and men who fought for the interest of the people. Treachery, tyranny and terrorism are the ways of the Arroyo regime in its loyal servitude to US imperialism"
The militant women's group also celebrates the 25th year of their founding today.

"Gabriela was founded amidst the tyranny of the Marcos dictatorship. We are so named in honor of the courageous and heroic patriotism of Gabriela Silang. And today we celebrate the twenty five years of Gabriela's continuing fight to advance the rights and welfare of Filipino women against the onslaught of US domination and its local cohorts," said Gabriela spokesperson Joms Salvador during the program at the Mendiola Bridge.

"Since Gabriela was founded in 1984 and unto this day, we hold firm in our belief that the emancipation of the Filipino women is linked with people's struggle for genuine national freedom and the attainment of a true democratic society that upholds and advances the interest of the majority," said Salvador.

Gabriela chapters outside Metro Manila also lead similar women's actions today in Laguna, Bicol, Baguio, Bacolod City, Iloilo City, Roxas City, General Santos City and Davao City, as well as overseas in USA, Hong Kong, Australia, Japan and Italy.###
 

     
ZTE star witness Jun Lozada
           
     
     
     

 

Pagpupugay sa Kababaihang Nakikibaka
Pahayag ng All UP Workers Alliance sa Araw ng Kababaihan
Marso 8, 2009

Mayaman ang kasaysayan ng pagkilos ng mga kababaihan sa iba’t ibang panig ng mundo, kabilang ang hanay ng mga kababaihan sa ating bansa. Ngayong Pandaigdiganag Araw ng mga Kababaihan, kinikilala natin ang mga tagumpay na nakamit—at mga hamong haharapin— ng malawak na sektor ng kababaihan sa ating bansa.

Nitong nakaraang taon, naramdaman natin ang krisis pinansyal na higit na nakaapekto sa pang-araw-araw na kabuhayan ng ating mga pamilya. Nasaksihan natin ang walang habas na pagtaas ng presyo ng langis, bigas, at iba pang bilihin. Naramdaman rin natin ang kakapusan sa pangtustos para sa pag-aaral ng ating mga anak dahil sa patuloy na pagtaas ng halaga ng edukasyon. Bukod dito, nadagdagdan ang listahan ng ating mga kababayan na nawalan ng trabaho o pangkabuhayan.

Sa harap ng tumitinding krisis, mas tumitindi at lumalakas ang boses ng mga kababaihan. Ang hanay ng kababaihan—tayong mga nanay, manggagawa, magsasaka, guro, anak—ay hindi natitinag sa ating mga paninindigan, sa kabila ng opresyon sa mga kababaihan na patuloy na umiiral sa pyudal na lipunan. Malinaw na nakarehistro ang paggigiit ng mga kababaihan sa panawagang pagsasabatas ng Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill, dagdag na budget sa panlipunang serbisyo tulad ng edukasyon, kalusugan at paninirahan, dagdag na P125 sa sahod ng mga manggagawa sa pribadong sektor at P3,000 dagdag sa minimum na suweldo ng mga manggagawa ng pamahalaan, at ang P9,000 dagdag na panawagan ng mga guro sa pampublikong paaralan.

Hindi maitatanggi ang mahalagang papel ng sektor ng kababaihan sa pagtunggali sa mga pangunahing isyung kinakaharap ang bansa. Isa na rito ang ukol sa Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), partikular ang Subic Rape Case na kinasasangkutan ng Amerikanong sundalo na si Cpl. Daniel Smith. Hanggang sa ngayon, nangunguna ang sektor ng kababaihan sa pagkundena sa kasong ito, kakabit ang panawagang ibasura ang VFA, ang batas na hinahayaan ang pananatili ng mga sundalo at baseng Amerikano sa bansa.

Kaugnay pa sa isyu ng VFA ang pagtutol at pagkundena ng mga grupo ng kababaihan sa BALIKATAN military exercise na isasagawa sa Abril ngayong taon sa lalawigan ng Bikol. Ngayon pa lamang na nagsasagwa ng clearing operations ang mga militar sa lalawigan, ilang kaso na ng karahasan ang naitala. Malinaw na halimbawa ang pagbomba ng dalawang bahay ng mga sibilyan ng mga tropa ng 901st Brigate-PA noong Pebrero 18 sa Ligao City, na nagresulta sa pagkamatay ng isang taong gulang na si Rafaela Polborido at pagkasugat ng anim pang bata at tatlong nanay.

Sa panahong ito na tumitindi ang pandaigdigang krisis pinansyal at pulitikal, hinahamon ang mga kababaihan na patuloy na igiit na hindi hiwalay ang isyu ng mga kababaihan sa mga isyung kinakaharap ng lipunan. Ngayong araw ng mga kababaihan, nakikiisa ang All UP Workers Alliance sa mga pagkilos at panawagan na wakasan ang kahirapan, karahasan, at hindi pagkakapantay-pantay sa lipunan.

Ipaglaban ang P125 at P3,000 minimum na dagdag na sahod sa mga manggagawa sa pribado at pampublikong sektor!

Ibasura ang VFA at Balikatan!

Katarungan para kay Nicole, Ikulong si Daniel Smith!

Sulong babae, palaban, militante!
--------------------------------------------------------------

 

Centenary Committee to Celebrate International Women's Day
100 Years of Women's Struggle: Achievements and Challenges
iwdcentenary@gmail.com

100 years of International Women's Day
Achievements and Challenges

On the historic occasion of March 8, several organisations and individuals in Delhi, have come together to commemorate hundred years of International Women's Day, to collectively celebrate the achievements of women's struggles all over the world, to draw strength from the struggles and sacrifices of our earlier generations and to chart out the course of our future struggles.

Women's struggles against exploitation, war and political alienation has a long and rich history of sacrifice, repression and ridicule. Whether it was working class women who were locked up in factories, and who got burnt when the factory caught fire, or suffragettes who were repeatedly jailed for asking for the right to vote, women were considered too frivolous to organize and were ignored by trade unions. Yet women throughout the world waged militant struggles to improve their working conditions and to end exploitation. The women’s movement, which began as a struggle against capital, acquired newer dimensions and began to address the myriad issues that affect women. This included the issue of the right over women’s own bodies, and breaking the silence against domestic and public violence.

March 8 was declared as the International Women’s Day in 1910 at the Second International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen. Clara Zetkin, a leader of ‘Women’s Office' for the Social Democratic Party in Germany proposed this day for women of the world to press for their demands. Women from 17 countries, representing unions, socialist parties, working women's clubs, and women parliamentarians greeted Zetkin's suggestion with unanimous approval. This day was of additional significance because on this day in 1908, women had gathered in New York City to rally around the issue of women’s suffrage.

Women in India have not only struggled for their own rights but have made significant contribution to all struggles for freedom, worker’s rights and land rights. In the twentieth century, one of the first examples of political action for women’s rights was the 1942 Nagpur struggle of thousands of Dalit women for compulsory free education for girls and political representation of Dalit women in public offices. In the 1940s women’s participation in Telangana movement for land rights was another landmark. Over the years, women contributed significantly to many other struggles related to livelihood and environmental issues, like the Chipko movement. Women came out in large numbers in the anti-liquor movement and against price rise.

While Dalit and Adivasi women in rural areas continued to claim their rights and dignity in small and big spaces, the 1980s were also characterised by widespread outrage and legal action by women’s groups and women of all classes in various cases of discrimination and violence against women, like the Shah Bano maintenance case, issues of dowry and dowry deaths, Sati, rape and child sexual abuse. Women in the north-eastern part of India, particularly Manipur, led and continue to lead the struggle against army atrocities and State repression.

With the 1990s, the Indian government embarked on World Bank dictated reforms and women protested against privatization, withdrawal of the State in social sectors and targeted Public Distribution System (PDS).

As a consequence of neo-economic policies, today our society is characterised by unprecedented disparities. Resources are being transferred to national and foreign capital in India with active participation of the State resulting in large-scale dispossession and displacement of people. Government policies have brought about agrarian crises where farmers are pushed to commit suicide. Withdrawal of the State from health, education and social security sectors has caused further impoverishment, exclusion and deprivation. In the name of micro credit, women are being exploited by the state, the microfinance institutions (MFIs) and some NGOs.

And in this process women suffer the most. If there is retrenchment, women are the first to be fired. If the family does not have food, women have even less. If there is dispossession, women lose traditional control and benefits even within the family, as cash compensation are given to male members. Women belonging to Dalit, Adivasi and religious minority communities, women with mental and physical disabilities, along with those marginalised due to their gender and sexual preferences, are even more vulnerable and exploited.

Arms of the state meant to protect citizens, have routinely used rape and sexual assault in order to intimidate, terrorize and control women and populations. Mass rapes and atrocities by security forces during anti-insurgency operations in North-East or Kashmir have further been strengthened by the existence of draconian laws like the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. The recent amendment in Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act will also give a fillip to the State in its suppression of people’s movements. Furthermore, private armies sponsored by the State are also using sexual assault as a tool to suppress people’s struggles, like in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

Women are specifically targeted during communal and caste violence, as we have seen in Gujarat, Khairlanji and Orissa. Similarly women everywhere are under the threat of moral policing. Crimes against women, including against lesbians and bisexuals, and transgender persons, are on the rise, making their participation in public life increasingly difficult and their life within the home and the workplace more insecure.

In the face of dominant imperialist and repressive forces, we need to come together to build a united women’s movements, and resolve to struggle for a just and equitable society.

We hereby demand:

· People-centred and pro-women developmental policies; wherein micro-credit-based self help groups (SHGs) cannot be the only and dominant intervention,

· Food security, including PDS universalisation

· Livelihoods with fair wages and good working conditions, with regulation of working conditions for unorganized sector workers.

· Land reform and women’s access to and control over productive resources

· Freedom from sexual assault and harassment, domestic and public violence

· Effective implementation of laws such as the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act and Scheduled Caste /Scheduled Tribe Atrocities Act.

· Decriminalisation of homosexuality and reading down of Article 377 of IPC.

· Elimination of caste-based professions like manual scavenging that exploit Dalit women

· Strengthening of institutions and mechanisms that are set up to address special needs of women, SC, ST, OBC and religious minorities.

· Repeal of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, UAPA, and Special Economic Zones (SEZ) Act.

On the occasion of this Centenary Year of International Women’s Day 2009 we call on women from all over the country to join together with other oppressed peoples to raise our voices against declining living standards, fascist attacks by the State and rightwing mobs, and other forms of patriarchal oppression. Let us use this opportunity to celebrate our achievements and build new solidarities to face the challenges ahead of us. Starting March 8th 2009, commemoration meetings will be held through the year and will culminate in a massive programme on March 8th 2010.

AIPWA, AISA, CADAM, Centre for Struggling Women, Committee Against Violence on Women (CAVOW), Dalit Lekhak Manch, Democratic Students Union (DSU), Disha Chhatra Sangathan, Forum for Democratic Struggle, Gatividhi, Jagori, Krantikari Yuv Sanghatan, New Socialist Initiative, Nirantar, NTUI, Pragatisheel Mahila Manch, Progressive Students Union (PSU), Purogami Mahila Sanghatan, Saheli, Sangat, Stree Adhikar Sangathan, Stree Mukti League, and Arjumand Ara, Chanda Sagar, Dr. Ajita Rao, Indira Chakravarthy, Indira Pancholi, Karen Gabriel, Madhu Aggrawal, Nitoo Das, Shehla Faizee, Shubhra Sethi, Vibha Maurya and others.
--



 

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
           
     
           
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Absurd
Statement in Commemoration of Women’s Day, 8 March 2009
Congress of Teachers and Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND-National)

It is the height of absurdity. That it is now, at a time when we have a woman-president, that the Filipina is even more oppressed and disenfranchised. Someone like Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should be able to empathize. Someone like her should know how difficult it has become – to live as a woman in this country. A president like her should be able to imagine the kind of hunger the Filipina has been subjected to, and the fears that eat at her heart everyday.

Instead, all we’ve gotten from GMA, with or without a crisis, is a more difficult life. And this is so not because she’s a woman but because she’s of her social class, her upbringing, her ideology. Absolutely nothing has gotten better for the Filipina since GMA’s presidency, nothing to remind us that we have a sister in the country’s highest office, nothing to tell us that we are cared for and loved by this president.

For where is the love really? In her inability to approve the Reproductive Health Bill, and tell her cohorts in the Lower and Upper Houses to make it into law, with no regard for the Catholic Church that is staunchly against it, revealing the kind of claws and teeth it has in this country. GMA in fact, has proven herself inutile in the face of the Church which, alongside her administration’s inability to cease talking about Charter Change, tells us that 2010 is her dream. In GMA’s mind, the division of Church and State is nothing but a fluke – one that that she has used, time and again, for her political ambitions.

Where is the love, in her refusal to question the Visiting Forces Agreement, at a time when we are reminded of its unconstitutionality , when it has proven to be the bane of the Filipina’s existence, as she is put in danger of being raped and sexually abused, not only because this is historically proven to happen, but because recent events show that she will not be given the justice she deserves. At a time when reports abound about how it endangers millions of Filipino lives, because the balikatan exercises are not innocent with eyewitnesses seeing American soldiers take part in the Philippine Army’s operations in places like Sulu. The war on terror, which was the reason for the ratification of the VFA, was an American president’s dream. And yet, the Filipina must suffer because her own president wanted to prove her allegiance to Uncle Sam.

That this war on terror has displaced countless Filipinas is a given. But that it has been used by the government to reveal its hatred of criticism and activism, is unfathomable. That, since GMA’s presidency there have been more than a million human rights violations (from threat to physical assault, to enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings), should be a shame to her administration. And yet the response has been to espouse safety and security as the opposite of allowing 933 activists – 107 of them women – to become victims of violence in the hands of those who should be protecting them.

And yet, to be victim is not limited to this purported war on terror. There is no love in the fact that there has been a rise in cases of violence against women. In a country where there is one woman raped every eight ours, and one more victimized by sexual harassment and acts of lasciviousness every two hours and six minutes, one can’t help but wonder: where is GMA in these statistics?

Apparently nowhere, focused as she seems to be on the crisis at hand, she hasn’t had the time to worry about the abuses on the Filipina. Instead, GMA says, here are dole-outs and a stimulus plan – it won’t do much, but at least I’m doing something. Because in truth, 10.8 million Filipinos are jobless and underemployed, and no stimulus plan (particularly not GMA’s) will change this. In the export processing zones (EPZs), 80% of workers are women, and it is here that massive layoffs and reduced working hours are happening. Even the government worker isn’t safe. She must worry about the possibility of being one of 450,000 people to lose their jobs in the face of government’s streamlining of employees. And don’t GMA begin about how the big companies of this country are hiring workers in huge numbers. Truth is, the number of contractual hires far outnumber the number of regular workers, be they in local companies like SM and PLDT or the multinational outsourcing companies.

There is no love felt by the woman who might be able to keep her job, but only if she settles for the low pay she is accorded. Minimum wage has yet to even come close to the official daily cost of living, and the gap has grown to P530 pesos. How the Filipina can survive with P530 pesos less than what she needs to live decently is a marvel. But there’s nothing to celebrate here, because this really only gives the Filipina two options that are equally sad: she can either become an OFW and accept all its contingent oppressions and sadness, or she can cope by becoming a willing victim to loan sharks and daily noontime game shows that make her cry and sing and dance in order to get some cash. To take on informal employment is a given.

That many overseas Filipina workers are underpaid and underemployed, that there is a rising number of detention and death row cases, that they are now being retrenched and deported in greater number now than at any other time, seems secondary to GMA. That these OFWs will have nothing to go home to but hunger and a corrupt government, that they are not given the protection they deserve, at the same time that they are celebrated as the heroes of the nation, is just despicable. That those who stay have to deal with a Bayani Fernando who does nothing but to exercise his fascism in ridding the streets of our poor and disenfranchised and needy, is all on GMA’s tab.

As all of these are. Because there is absolutely no excuse for the sad state of the Filipina’s life, in the year 2009, at a time when she is made to imagine that she can do and have anything, at a time when the president is a woman. That the Filipina’s life is farthest from what GMA imagines is not a matter of gender, as it is a matter of a woman-president who refuses to see the real state of this nation, beyond her own administration’s propaganda. It is, more than anything, GMA imagining that she is a blessing, when she is nothing but the bane of the Filipina’s existence. And at no other time has it been more clear why, on March 8, Woman’s Day, the Filipina must call for the most powerful Filipina to step down.
***

     
     
     
     
     
           
     
     
           

 

League of Filipino Students
Mobile Number: 09158513904
Website: LFS.ph
______________________________
PRESS RELEASE
March 8, 2009

DOWN WITH GMA'S ANTI-WOMEN REGIME! JUSTICE FOR THE MURDER OF KA PARAGO'S DAUGHTER!

“The murderos death of Rebelyn Pitao, daughter of NPA leader Ka Parago, is a clear reflection of the continuing fascist rampage of the Arroyo government against innocent civilians in its desperate attempt at breaking the back of the Philippine revolution.”

This was how the League of Filipino Students described the dire situation of women under the Arroyo regime, given its sell-out of the Daniel Smith rape case to the Americans, and now, with the continuing policy of the government in silencing even innocent civilians in its theaters of war.

"This news is most unfortunate at a day when the women of the world celebrate their efforts to dismantle patriarchal structures and contribute to the building of a more equal society," said Terry Ridon, spokesperson of the LFS.

He added that that the Arroyo regime is merely trying to score 'feminist points' in its pronouncements of concern over the death of Pitao.

"Had the Arroyo government been truly concerned on the plight of women extra-legally murdered, it should have been able to bring to justice all security forces responsible for the hundreds of political killings and enforced disappearances during her entire term,” he said.

He added that it is precisely because of her fascist military policies such as Oplan Bantay Laya I and II that have created the murderous conditions in the countryside at present.

“For as long as these fascist policies exist, military bloodlust even for unarmed civilians such as Rebelyn Pitao shall not cease.” Ridon says finally.

LFS shall join different cause-oriented groups in today's International Women's Day March to Malacanang, not only to demand justice for Rebelyn Pitao, but to support efforts by the women's movement for immediate economic relief during these times of economic crisis.

Reference:

Ron Villegas, LFS Vice Chairperson and Information Officer, 09239130516, ronvil@gmail.com
Terry Ridon, LFS Spokesperson, 09158513904, teridon18@gmail.com

 

----------------------------

 

06 MARCH 2009
PRESS RELEASE

SOUTHERN TAGALOG WOMEN TROOP TO US EMBASSY;
CALL FOR IMMEDIATE EXIT OF US TROOPS


“Hindi kami titigil. There will be no stopping us from making our protest against the Visiting Forces Agreement and the presence of US troops in our country known.”

This was according to Leona Entena Gabriela Women’s Party Vice Chairperson for Luzon and GABRIELA Laguna chairperson as women from the Southern Tagalog region trooped to the US embassy today.

“The VFA has brought much violence and abuse to women, children and communities where US troops hold their military exercises, rest and recreation activities as well as their so-called socio-civic activities. Their continued presence in our country, from Mindanao to Bicol and even in Cavite in the Southern Tagalog region is a threat to women and children” said Entena.

Protesters from Southern Tagalog said they do not want to experience the threat and violence of the presence of US troops in their communities. “The way that they have meddled with and interfered with political economic and social affairs, as well as the delivery of services in communities in Mindanao. This outright interference and trampling of our sovereignty is slowly spreading to other regions and we must not allow this to happen.”

Balikatan military exercises are slated to be conducted not just in Bicol but in Sangley Point and Ternate in Cavite as well.

“The presence of US troops is a testament of the Arroyo government’s subservience to US interests and her inutility to the pleas of women, children and communities. We demand that this outright offensive on our sovereignty, national security be stopped immediately.”

For Reference: Leona Entena (09106660574)
Gabriela Women’s Party Vice Chairperson for Luzon
GABRIELA Laguna chairperson
 

     
     
     
     
     
           
     
     
           

 

For Immediate Release

March 8, 2009
Reference: Joanne Alcantara, GABRIELA USA National Coordinator, gabrielawomen@gmail.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_-2chxC5so

SULONG GABRIELA! 25 YEARS AND FORWARD!
GABRIELA-USA Celebrates International Working Women’s Day with Month Long Activities Culminating in the Formation of the First Overseas Chapter of GABRIELA- USA

Los Angeles, CA--To honor International Working Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, Babae, FIRE, and PINAY sa Seattle will undertake a slew of activities during this March 2009. These celebrations will culminate in the National Founding Assembly of GABRIELA-USA, where Filipinas from across the nation will gather on March 29, 2009 at the University of California, Los Angeles Downtown Labor Center, to establish the first overseas chapter of the Philippine-based progressive women’s alliance, GABRIELA. Presenting the keynote address will be GABRIELA’s renowned Secretary General, Emmi de Jesus.

This commemoration of 25 years of GABRIELA history comes at a very challenging time for women all over the world. In the Philippines, the current global economic crisis affects Filipino families gravely as the daily struggle for wage, healthcare and basic social services become increasingly more difficult. The Philippine import-dependent and export-oriented economy is heavily reliant on remittances from overseas workers. Filipina women, who represent over 70% of the overseas workers, are dramatically affected due to dwindling dollars impacting the welfare of families still living in the Philippines. According to the Philippine Department of Labor, over 3,770 workers were sent abroad daily for work in 2008 and in the same year, ten million overseas Filipino workers (OFW's) remitted over $16.4 Billion USD.

The Philippine government heralds these economic gains as national successes, yet it neither recognizes the vulnerabilities and exploitation of overseas workers, nor protects individuals when they face abuse. In the past year, over 20 overseas workers were sent home in body bags labeled “mysterious deaths,” but are suspected cases of employer abuse. Despite this, the Philippine government, under President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, has responded by increasing the number of laborers sent abroad, rather than strengthening the local economy which might help retain talent and skills within the nation.

Today’s economic crisis; coupled with the rise of U.S. unemployment, underemployment, and international xenophobia; has a severe impact on Filipino families in the United States and abroad, but especially on Filipina women who are a majority of that exported labor force. Since 1984, GABRIELA has operated as the broad-based women’s alliance which addresses the concerns of women in the Philippines, prompted by the Martial Law era. Today, GABRIELA’s work has expanded internationally due to the increasing number of women who leave the Philippines in order to find work abroad through the country’s Labor Export Program.

To ensure the needs of Filipinas are addressed in the United States, the country with the largest overseas Filipino population, a working alliance between Pinay sa Seattle, Babae (San Francisco) and Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (New York) was formed. These Filipino women in the United States have worked during the past four years to build the foundation for GABRIELA-USA, which maintains the issues of economic and social violence Filipinas experience globally at the forefront of their campaigns. By educating, organizing, and mobilizing Filipina women in the U.S., these women’s organizations critically address the economic crisis, militarization and violence that affect their communities.

In light of the ongoing economic, political and physical violations that Filipino women face at the hands of the Philippine and US governments, there continues to be a need for Filipinas to rise up, resist, and demand that their basic human needs and human rights be honored. GABRIELA-USA invites the public to celebrate International Working Women’s Day and Women’s History Month by attending the following events.

SEATTLE: ”Women’s Struggles and Successes: Eyes on the Global Economic Crisis from Seattle, Palestine to the Philippines” SUNDAY March 8, Event will include performances and women’s updates. at 1pm?Hidmo Eritrean Cuisine at 2000 S Jackson St., Seattle, WA. Co-sponsored by Asian Pacific Islander Women and Family Safety Center, Communities Against Rape and Abuse, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum and Anakbayan Seattle

NEW YORK: ?”International Working Women's Day, Uphold the legacy of women's resistance!” SUNDAY March 8, Rally at 1 pm at Union Square 14th & Broadway in Manhattan, NYC. In collaboration with the citywide women’s coalition, Women's Fight Back Network.

SAN FRANCISCO: “Conference on Gender and Resistance in the Age of Empire: From Gaza to Oakland” THURSDAY March 12 at 11am at SFSU - 1600 Holloway Ave. San Francisco, CA. Co-sponsored by San Francisco State University's Women's Center and the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative (AMED)

LOS ANGELES: "Get Up, Stand Up! For Human Rights in the Philippines" SUNDAY March 8, Silent auction fundraiser/exhibit at 4pm at Tribal Café, 1651 W. Temple St., Los Angeles. Co sponsored by BAYAN USA, Southern California.

“Sulong GABRIELA: Celebrating the Advances of the Filipino Women's Struggle! Twenty Five Years and Onward!”?SATURDAY, March 28th – Cultural Night 7-11pm?SUNDAY, March 29th – Founding Assembly. For more information contact gabrielawomen@gmail.com.

GABRIELA-USA, consists of Babae in San Francisco, Pinay Sa Seattle and Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) in New York. We continue to demand the removal of all U.S. troops from the Philippines and the abrogation of the VFA! Halt all military aid to the Philippines!

###

     
     
     
     
           
     
     
     

 

NEWS RELEASE
7 March 2009

For Reference: REP. LIZA LARGOZA MAZA 0920-9134540
Francis Uyanguren (Public Information Officer) 0929-4511305

MAZA HITS VILLAROSA'S ROLE IN DELAY OF THE MAGNA CARTA OF WOMEN
ADOPTION AT THE HOUSE

Assistant Minority Leader and Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza today decried
Deputy Speaker Amelita Villarosa's role behind the delay of the
adoption of the Magna Carta of Women at the House of Representatives,
even as the Senate ratified the proposed bill before both houses go on
recess last week.

“It is disappointing that the only woman deputy speaker in the House
of Representatives made the rounds among the bicameral conferees to
block the passage of the said measure by asking them not to sign or
withdraw their signature in the bicameral conference report. She
herself was part of the rigorous deliberations in the Bicameral
Committee and it was approved by members of both houses in the
committee. She has undermined the entire democratic process and her
motives are suspect,” Maza, who is also a member of the Bicameral
Conference, said.

The Gabriela solon said that Villarosa insisted on incorporating the
concept of “ethics” among the methods of family planning, despite
exhaustive debates in the bicameral committee that adopted the
formulation on the “responsible, legal, safe and effective methods of
family planning.” In fact, Maza said, most of the proposals of the
Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) were considered
by the committee, suffice to say that there was indeed a thorough
discussion on the provisions of the Magna Carta.

“Is this being done so as not to earn the ire of the Catholic Church?
Babae pa mismo ang pumipigil sa pagpasa ng isang batas na kumikilala
at nagtataguyod ng karapatan ng mga kababaihan, dahil sa kanilang mga
pampulitikang interes. The brazenness of Rep.Villarosa's moves raises
our suspicion on the deeper motive on the non-adoption of the said
measure, having known her as a very close ally of Pres. Arroyo who had
earlier made pronouncements that she favored natural family planning
methods only,” Maza added.

Maza, who co-authored the measure at its version at the Lower House,
believes that the immediate ratification of the Magna Carta of Women
could significantly provide an enabling mechanism for the Convention
on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and
highlight the concrete conditions and plight of the Filipino women.

Maza further stressed the following points of the Magna Carta of Women:

1.Designates the Commission on Human Rights as the Gender and
Development Ombud to ensure the promotion and protection of women’s
human rights

2.Ensures mandatory training on human rights and gender sensitivity to
all government personnel involved in the protection and defense of
women against gender-based violence

3.Institutes affirmative action mechanisms so that “women can
participate meaningfully in the formulation, implementation, and
evaluation of policies, plans, and programs for national, regional,
and local development”. The number of women in third level positions
in government shall be increased to achieve a fifty-fifty (50-50)
gender balance within the next five years while the composition of
women in all levels of development planning and program implementation
will be at least forty percent (40%)

4.Ensures the equal treatment before the law by ensuring that the
State shall take steps to review and when necessary, amend and/or
repeal existing laws that are discriminatory to women within three (3)
years from the effectivity of the Magna Carta.

5.Provides equal access and elimination of discrimination in
education, scholarships, and training. Thus, “expulsion,
non-readmission, prohibiting enrollment, and other related
discrimination of women students and faculty due to pregnancy out of
marriage shall be outlawed.”

6.Ensures the responsible, legal, safe and effective methods of family planning

7.Promotes the equal status given to men and women on the titling of
the land and issuance of stewardship contracts and patents.

8.Encourages Local Government Units (LGUs) to develop and pass a
Gender and Development (GAD) code based on the gender issues and
concerns in their respective localities based on consultation with
their women constituents

Maza appealed to the House leadership to pass the Magna Carta of Women
as she stressed the importance of the measure as a positive
development in the promotion of women's rights.

The Gabriela solon will lead the protest march and rally of women
nationwide tomorrow for the International Women's Day.

--
Gabriela Women's Party National Headquarters
118 Scout Rallos, Brgy. Sacred Heart,
Quezon City
Telefax: (632) 9295342
Email: gabrielawomensparty @gmail.com
Website: www.gabrielawomensp arty.net

Office of Gabriela Rep. Liza Largoza Maza
Rm 309 South Wing Bldg.,
House of Representatives, Quezon City
Telefax: (632) 9316268
Email: lizalmaza@yahoo. com

Office of Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan
Rm. 601 South Wing Bldg.
House of Representatives, Quezon City
Telefax: (632) 9315586
E-mail: repluzilagan@ gmail.com

     
     
     
     
     
           
     
     
           

 

News Release
07 March 2009

Reference: Joms Salvador, Spokesperson, 371-2302 / 0918-9182150

GABRIELA ON MAGNA CARTA OF WOMEN, KILLING OF PITAO'S DAUGHTER
& PREP FOR MARCH 8

Gabriela slams delay in ratification of Magna Carta of Women

In a press conference this morning, the militant women's group GABRIELA criticized Deputy Speaker Amelita Villarosa for causing the delay in the ratification of the Magna Carta of Women even after getting the nod at the bicameral conference.

According to the women's group, the ratification and enactment of the Magna Carta of Women is the fruition of Filipino women's parliamentary struggle for a charter that would serve as the legal framework for ensuring the recognition of women's rights.

“The Magna Carta of Women is long overdue. It has been almost thirty years since the Philippine government signed the CEDAW in 1980 and ratified it in 1981. It is just ironic that just as the Women's Day approaches, the Lower House choose to delay, instead of hastening, its ratification,” said Emmi De Jesus, GABRIELA secretary general. “With the Magna Carta of Women, a mechanism for the promotion of the rights of Filipino women will be provided, although it is not a perfect legislation,” added De Jesus.

“Filipino women will not tolerate this seemingly arbitrary action of some members of the House Leadership led by Deputy Speaker Villarosa. It smells too much of self-serving politicking at the expense of the Filipino women's fight for the advancement of women's rights and welfare,” concluded De Jesus.

Gabriela Condemns Killing of Rebel Leader's Daughter

GABRIELA condemned the killing of Rebelyn Pitao, a 20-year old teacher in Davao City, who was recently abducted by alleged elements of the military and was found dead yesterday. Pitao is the daughter of known New People's Army leader Leoncio Pitao a.k.a. Commander Parago
"There is no doubt that the military is behind the killing of Rebelyn and we hold the Arroyo government accountable for this. It is a merciless government that goes after innocent family members of rebels the military fails to subjugate. It simple cowardice,” said de Jesus.
“The government harps on its supposed efforts to curb human rights violations, the number of women who were alleged to have been victims of extra-judicial killings have risen to 108 these past few days, with Ms. Pitao as the recent victim. We demand justice for the death of Ms. Pitao and the women human rights defenders who have been violated by the Arroyo regime," said De Jesus.


Gabriela gears for Women's Day
 

The energy was palpable. While the cultural group Sining Lila filled the air with their upbeat political jingles as they rehearse, women were all over the place cutting and pasting, painting the effigies, seaming flags, and painting placards. The buzz of activities at GABRIELA’s national headquarter was the final preparation for tomorrow’s large march-protest to be led by the militant group in commemoration of Women’s Day.
 

“Like any eve of a special day, Filipino women come together to help out in the preparations. Today, women do the same as we prepare to celebrate the Women’s Day in its militant tradition. We will march the streets from Welcome Rotonda to Mendiola tomorrow to show our outrage over the Arroyo government’s neglect to defend the rights of Filipino women,” said Joms Salvador, GABRIELA spokesperson.

According to Salvador, the placards bearing “Junk Gloria, Junk VFA,” “End US military intervention” “Labanan ang Krisis” (Resist the Crisis) and “Ipaglaban ang Dignidad ng Inang Bayan,” (Uphold the Dignity of Motherland), represents the indignation of Filipino women over Arroyo’s blatant disregard of women’s rights, as well as their aspirations for genuine change.

Salvador further said that Filipino women nationwide will hold similar activities tomorrow. GABRIELA chapters in Baguio, Bacolod, Panay, Roxas, General Santos City, Davao, and in the Southern Tagalog region will also lead thousands of women in a march during the historical day. ###

     
     
     
           
     
     
           

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 27, 2009
Jollene Levid, GABNet Secretary-General
secgen@gabnet.org
Tel: 323-356-4748

LAY DOWN THE NEW WOMEN’S AGENDA FOR FULL WOMEN’S LIBERATION!

BAY AREA, CA: As we commemorate the enduring legacy of the global women’s movement this 2009 International Women’s Day, GABNet of the Mariposa Alliance calls for the laying down of a New Women’s Agenda attuned to the tactical needs of our time and the strategic requirements for full liberation for womankind.

In this era of impending profound social transformation, when class society faces crisis upon crisis, and imperialism itself is reeling from the very catastrophe it has wrought upon the world, GABNet, in consonance with the cooperating organizations of the MARIPOSA ALLIANCE, calls for the coming together of all the disparate elements and forces of the women’s movement.

The changing demographics of our societies make this imperative. We are witnessing the rise of transnational women and their communities, with their own special cluster of issues. Women and men of two passports, of two cultures, of two or more languages and who are bi-racial are slowly becoming the majority population in the US. Indeed, within less than a decade, the US will become bi-lingual.

And because we are women of action, GABNet is spearheading the start of this discourse, with the founding congress of the Mariposa Alliance this Fall, in the Bay Area, California, with a gathering of individual women and representatives of women’s organizations to launch a higher level of cooperation among women of diverse origins and backgrounds.

We have reasons to celebrate the past year: the passage of the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which recognizes gender discrimination as a continuum, the defeat of Proposition K for the legalization of prostitution, the extension of the International Marriage Brokers Regulatory Act (IMBRA), the impending passage of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in New York, the full surge of women’s participation in the last elections that wrote finish to the Bush/GOP administration, the rise of women’s voices the world over activism over a great range of issues, from reproductive rights to right to historical signification.

GABNet of the Mariposa Alliance can boast of two decades of consistent work for the emancipation of women of Philippine ancestry. Among its accomplishments for the past year alone are:

* Holding four national meetings of GABNet membership and leadership;
* Organizing ten school-based committees working on the Purple Rose Campaign Against the Traffic of Filipinas;
* Engaging, on a national basis, on daily activities to commemorate 16 Days of Activism on Violence against Women;
* Launching a mini-campaign on a Divorce Bill for the Philippines;
* Holding a Los Angeles to San Diego Caravan Against the Trafficking of Women;

 

 

* Holding a concert against the Trafficking and Violence against Women;
* Organizing a rally of women in Los Angeles on International Women’s Day which earned the support of the West Hollywood City Council;
* Organizing women’s delegations to all anti-war marches;
* Organizing new GABNet high school units;
* Holding a Feminist Valentine Dinner in commemoration of the Purple Rose Anniversary;
* Initiating and deepening the organizing committee for the Mariposa Alliance.
 

In addition to this, all GABNet members participated in theory-building sessions and educational activities to enhance their understanding of women’s oppression and social activism.

This rich and long-standing experience in work for the liberation of women of Philippine ancestry is the solid foundational basis of the Mariposa Alliance, a coalition of individual women and women’s organizations in formation.

We have reasons as well to be upset: the same-sex marriage ban in California which deprived thousands of a basic human right, the emphasis on male-dominated industries in the stimulus package passed by Congress, the huge gender-gap in political and economic leadership which continues the pervasive masculinist rule in class society that women should be “responsible but with no power; accountable but with no authority;” the continuing redaction of women’s social and political roles to being place-holders of power for others, their political work deemed of no historic value, the continued violence against women which rests on the denial of their right to historical significance, and the patriarchal surge that enables their transformation into commodity under imperialist globalization.

It is time. Machismo is so obsolete; authoritarianism is passé and women considering their collective interests as secondary went out with whalebone girdle. The need for a new women’s agenda grows greater each passing day, the imperative for coming together more urgent. Let us begin lest we be left again holding the bucket – and an empty one at that -- as women have been in the past. The Future begins Today.

To the Bay, this Fall, to lay down the New Women’s Agenda!
Liberate women, liberate all!
Free ourselves, free our sisters!
End war and all violence against women!
Dismantle gender-based oppression and exploitation!
Equality in Unity, Justice in Strength!
 

-- ###

--
Jollene Levid
GABRIELA Network USA
www.gabnet.org


--

Online Now!!!

International Women's Day Issue of GABNet's Kilos-Babae! Act Now, kaWOMENan! (Spring 2009)

http://www.gabnet.org/Docs/kawomenanspring2009.pdf

~ GABNet Editorial Collective

 

           

 

News Release
07 March 2009

Reference: Joms Salvador, Spokesperson, 371-2302 / 0918-9182150

GABRIELA ON MAGNA CARTA OF WOMEN, KILLING OF PITAO'S DAUGHTER
& PREP FOR MARCH 8

Gabriela slams delay in ratification of Magna Carta of Women

In a press conference this morning, the militant women's group GABRIELA criticized Deputy Speaker Amelita Villarosa for causing the delay in the ratification of the Magna Carta of Women even after getting the nod at the bicameral conference.

According to the women's group, the ratification and enactment of the Magna Carta of Women is the fruition of Filipino women's parliamentary struggle for a charter that would serve as the legal framework for ensuring the recognition of women's rights.

“The Magna Carta of Women is long overdue. It has been almost thirty years since the Philippine government signed the CEDAW in 1980 and ratified it in 1981. It is just ironic that just as the Women's Day approaches, the Lower House choose to delay, instead of hastening, its ratification,” said Emmi De Jesus, GABRIELA secretary general. “With the Magna Carta of Women, a mechanism for the promotion of the rights of Filipino women will be provided, although it is not a perfect legislation,” added De Jesus.

“Filipino women will not tolerate this seemingly arbitrary action of some members of the House Leadership led by Deputy Speaker Villarosa. It smells too much of self-serving politicking at the expense of the Filipino women's fight for the advancement of women's rights and welfare,” concluded De Jesus.

Gabriela Condemns Killing of Rebel Leader's Daughter

GABRIELA condemned the killing of Rebelyn Pitao, a 20-year old teacher in Davao City, who was recently abducted by alleged elements of the military and was found dead yesterday. Pitao is the daughter of known New People's Army leader Leoncio Pitao a.k.a. Commander Parago
 

"There is no doubt that the military is behind the killing of Rebelyn and we hold the Arroyo government accountable for this. It is a merciless government that goes after innocent family members of rebels the military fails to subjugate. It simple cowardice,” said de Jesus.
“The government harps on its supposed efforts to curb human rights violations, the number of women who were alleged to have been victims of extra-judicial killings have risen to 108 these past few days, with Ms. Pitao as the recent victim. We demand justice for the death of Ms. Pitao and the women human rights defenders who have been violated by the Arroyo regime," said De Jesus.
 

Gabriela gears for Women's Day
 

The energy was palpable. While the cultural group Sining Lila filled the air with their upbeat political jingles as they rehearse, women were all over the place cutting and pasting, painting the effigies, seaming flags, and painting placards. The buzz of activities at GABRIELA’s national headquarter was the final preparation for tomorrow’s large march-protest to be led by the militant group in commemoration of Women’s Day.
 

“Like any eve of a special day, Filipino women come together to help out in the preparations. Today, women do the same as we prepare to celebrate the Women’s Day in its militant tradition. We will march the streets from Welcome Rotonda to Mendiola tomorrow to show our outrage over the Arroyo government’s neglect to defend the rights of Filipino women,” said Joms Salvador, GABRIELA spokesperson.

According to Salvador, the placards bearing “Junk Gloria, Junk VFA,” “End US military intervention” “Labanan ang Krisis” (Resist the Crisis) and “Ipaglaban ang Dignidad ng Inang Bayan,” (Uphold the Dignity of Motherland), represents the indignation of Filipino women over Arroyo’s blatant disregard of women’s rights, as well as their aspirations for genuine change.

Salvador further said that Filipino women nationwide will hold similar activities tomorrow. GABRIELA chapters in Baguio, Bacolod, Panay, Roxas, General Santos City, Davao, and in the Southern Tagalog region will also lead thousands of women in a march during the historical day. ###

 

     
     
     

Overpass in front of UST, España

           
Gabriela - Negros Celebrates International Women's Day
     
           
           

 

FROM THE PHILIPPINES TO CANADA:
A TRIBUTE TO FILIPINO WOMEN

~Canada-Philippines Solidarity
for Human Rights~

Women, it is said, hold up half of the sky.

In the Philippines, Filipino women hold up half of the sky, and more. They make sure that their feet firmly grasp the ground they stand on. They also make sure that their stance is strong because more often than not, the sky is not calm. From the sky sometimes comes lightning and strong unrelenting rains.

In the Philippines, as in most countries, the severe global economic crisis, has a woman's face. The hardest hit are the ordinary women, women workers, peasant women, housewives, elderly women and the children that they take care of. Prices of basic commodities and utilities are on a steady increase which makes it even more difficult to make ends meet and to take care of their families. Women will make sure that there is food on the table and that the children and the elderly who they care for eat first.

Filipino women tend to work in casual, temporary and informal employment. They make up the majority of the work force in the electronics (72%) and garments (86.5%) sectors. In the export processing zones with labour intensive industries that feed into the global supply chains, seven to eight out of 10 laid off workers are women. The shrinking global demand for textiles and electronics means that women are the first to lose their jobs. In the country sides, peasant women are paid less than their male counterparts. Poverty also has a woman's face.

At least 3000 Filipinos leave the airport daily as overseas workers because there are no jobs or decent jobs to support their families at home. Unemployment and underemployment levels remain high. More than half of those who leave are women and, in Canada, Filipina women migrants outnumber men migrants. Migration also has a woman's face.

The face of the Philippine government is that of an evil woman who puts the interests of the United States government and military, big, foreign corporations, big landlords and big business, and yes, that of her own First family ahead of the interests and welfare of the country and the people she is constitutionally mandated to serve. Rather than putting food on the national table, the Arroyo government sees it fit to give the lion's share for debt servicing and for the military. Very little is spent on education, health, housing and other social services. With this kind of priorities, it is not surprising that women's health takes its toll. Filipino women, 4,600 a year, die of pregnancy and childbirth complications (or roughly 12 women a day) and 89,000 Filipino children under the age of five die every year (or roughly 243 a day).

The Arroyo regime, supported and aided by the U.S. government, continues her all-out war against the people through the counter-insurgency operation Oplan Bantay Laya. In violation of human rights conventions including international humanitarian laws, her military eliminates dissent, terrorizes the people, tramples on their civil rights and liberties and kills and “disappears” activists, community organizers and nationalists.
 

 

And yet, in spite of all these, resilience is strong and resistance against the oppressive regime is fierce. Resistance and courage in the midst of grief also bears a woman's face.

~Evelyn Pitao, mother of Rebelyn Pitao, the 20-year-old elementary teacher who was abducted, raped and killed by the military in Davao last March 5th, seeks justice for her daughter who was targeted simply because her father is a New People's Army guerilla fighter wanted by the military. She minces no words when she lashes out that those who killed her daughter belong to the “evil, vicious, military intelligence group, 100 per cent.” ~ Elizabeth Principe, a grassroots health worker, and now political prisoner, remains steadfast behind bars at Camp Crame detention centre. ~ Mommy Edith , Mommy Linda and Mommy Concepcion continue to look for their missing children Jonas Burgos, Shirley Cadapan and Karen Empeno. ~ Maywan and Michelle Posa do the same for their missing mother Luisa Dominado Posa, activist and former political prisoner who was abducted by the military in Iloilo. And the list of courageous women, wives and daughters are many. ~

In Canada, where Filipino women continue to fight and uphold their rights as women and as migrants, we laid to rest two feisty Filipina migrant workers who, against all odds, took on the Canadian government, fought for their rights and won. Their activism helped to expose the injustices within the caregiver program and the racism in Canada's immigration policies.

~Melca Salvador died fighting breast cancer last Feb 27 in Montreal. A caregiver who, because of her pregnancy, was unable to work for some months and therefore fulfill the LCP requirements, she was ordered deported. She valiantly fought against her deportation order; with the support of migrants' organizations and the Canadian public, and after a year of campaign work, Melca won her right to stay in Canada and be with her young son in 2001. ~ Yesterday, on International Women's Day, Juana Tejada, migrant caregiver ill with cancer, died in Toronto. She fought and won her right to stay and bring her family to Canada even when the Canadian government said No. Her victory in August 2008 has inspired the movement for the “Juana Tejada Law,” an amendment to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that guarantees the rights of medically inadmissible but otherwise qualified foreign caregivers already living in Canada. ~

Filipino women, in the Philippines and Canada, collectively stand together as sisters. They share each other's sorrows and grief. They celebrate each other's victories. They dream the same dream, a Philippines for our children where there is justice, jobs, livelihood and a decent life. They work toward the same vision for a national and democratic Philippines. And yes, as women, their rightful place is in the struggle.

Truly, Filipino women hold up half of the sky....while the right hand holds up the sky, the left hand is balled into a fist held high.

MABUHAY ANG KABABAIHANG PILIPINO SA LOOB AT LABAS NG BANSA!

9 March 2009
CANADA-PHILIPPINES SOLIDARITY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
Email: cps_hr@yahoo.ca
 

           
Gabriela - SMR Davao City Celebrates International Women's Day
     
           
     
     

 

Justice for Rebelyn! Justice for All Victims of Political Killings!

(Rebelyn Pitao, daughter of Commander Parago of the New People’s Army was abducted by suspected members of the 10th Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines last March 5, 2009 and found dead on March 6, 2009 at Carmen, Davao del Sur.)
 

   
     
     

March 9, 2009

In observance of the International Women’s Day

Hundreds of women marched in the street as part of our relentless struggle in condemning the heightened imperialistic attack of the US to women and to Filipino in general. The observance of the international women’s day was led by Gabriela-SMR while various women organizations, non-governmental organizations, local government marched in the street with a theme: “Kababayen-an, Molihuk og MAkigbisog Batok sa Nagkagrabeng Atake sa Imperyalismong US ug Rehimeng Arroyo sa Panginabuhian ug Kaayohan sa Katawhan.” Together with women organizations, progressive multisectoral and student organizations marched in support of women struggle.


Mass leaders from different sectors led by Gabriela SMR marched the streets of Davao City last March 9, 2009


 

     
     

 

PAGPUGAY SA KABABAIHAN

Joi Barrios-Leblanc, Bayan Women's Desk

 

(Tala:  Hindi binabasa ang dedication.  For your information lang ito.   Hindi rin mahalagang i-acknowledge na ako sa writer.  commissioned poem naman ito.  anyway, make sure lang na ma-practice ang audience na sumigaw ng Mabuhay! o kaya i repeat ang panawagan ng bumabasa.  Samakatuwid, dapat may leader din na chuwariwariwap ang audience na icocoach sila sa pagsigaw.)

 

PAGPUGAY SA KABABAIHANG MAGSASAKA

(Para kay Ka Lita)

 

LIDER:  Mabuhay ang babaeng magsasaka!

 

LAHAT NG KABABAIHAN:  Mabuhay!

 

LIDER:

Mabuhay ang babaeng magsasaka!

Itinuturo niya sa atin

Ang aral ng bilao

na gamit sa pagtatahip.

Nililinis ng bilao ang bigas,

sinasala ang dumi at bato,

upang ang masarap

na kanin na isinasaing

ay umuusok na maihain

sa hapag. 

Matuto tayo sa bilao!

Sa kasalukuyang krisis,

salain din natin ang pinunong ganid,

At tulad ng bato na ating tinatahip

Mula sa bilao ay dapat mapatalsik!

 

Babaeng magsasaka, palayasin ang maldita!

Palayasin ang maldita!

 

LAHAT NG KABABAIHAN:  Palayasin ang maldita!

 

 

PAGPUGAY SA KABABAIHANG MANGGAGAWA

(Para kay Ka Nitz)

 

LIDER:  Mabuhay ang babaeng manggagawa!

 

LAHAT NG KABABAIHAN:  Mabuhay!

 

LIDER:

Mabuhay ang kababaihang manggagawa!

Ating alalahanin ang gamit niyang sinulid

sa pabrika ng damit. 

Matibay na sinulid

ang nagbibigkis sa kasuotan

at nagbubuong muli

sa telang pira-piraso

o gula-gulanit. 

At kung ipambuburda itong sinulid.  

Biglang magkakahugis

ang mga rosas na bumubukadkad

sa ating mga saya

at may mapulang araw

na laging sumisikat

sa ating mga bandila. 

 

Babaeng manggagawa, itaas ang bandera!

LAHAT NG KABABAIHAN:  Itaas ang bandera!

 

PAGPUGAY SA KABABAIHANG KABATAAN

(Para kay Silay)

 

LIDER: 

Mabuhay ang babaeng kabataan!

Masdan siyang anong liksi,

anong bilis kung kumilos,

Masdan ang backpack sa kanyang likod. 

Isang buong buhay sa isang sisidlan. 

Kung sisilipin ang loob,

anong pag-asa ang matatalos?

Marahil ay libro at kuwaderno

niyang palabasa,

at mahilig magsulat at mag-aral

Marahil ay T-shirt at toothbrush,

niyang magpupulong nang magdamagan.

Marahil ay lampin para sa sanggol

ng kabataang ina,

Marahil ay leaflets nitong mahusay

na propagandista.

Masdan ang backpack sa kanyang likod,

isang buong buhay na walang sawa

na inihahandog sa bayan,

sa bayan na kay aga niyang minahal

at inirog.

 

 

Babaeng kabataan, isulong ang pakikibaka!

 

LAHAT NG KABABAIHAN:  Isulong ang pakikibaka! 

 

 

 

PAGPUGAY SA KABABAIHANG PROPESYUNAL

(Para kina Judy, Sarahbelle, at Trina)

 

Mabuhay ang babaeng propesyunal!

 

LAHAT NG KABABAIHAN:  Mabuhay!

 

LIDER:

Mabuhay ang kababaihang propesyonal!

Ang guro, nars, abugado,

inhinyero, doktor, at arkitekto,

tagapamahala't kawani sa opisina. 

Saan mang lunan ng paggawa,

kailangan niyang maghawan ng landas. 

Ano mang sapatos ang suot,

kulay puting walang takong sa ospital,

leather pumps sa opisina,

high heels o sandalyas,

botas sa kinaparoonang mayelong lugar,

Ang kanyang bawat apak

sa lupa ay matatag,

bawat hakbang ay tiyak na tiyak.

Pagkat batid niyang kahit tumatakbo nang nakatingkayad,

Hindi niya uurungan ang masukal na hinaharap.

IIsa ang pangarap

Ialay ang talino at lakas,

Itayo ang bayang maunlad!

 

Babaeng propesyunal, itayo ang bayang maunlad!

Itayo ang bayang maunlad!

 

PAGPUGAY PARA SA MGA INA AT MAYBAHAY NA AKTIBISTA

(Para kay Shayne Lumbera, Edith Burgos, Nanay Cadapan, at Nanay Empeno

 

LIDER:

Mabuhay ang mga makabayang ina at maybahay!

LAHAT:  Mabuhay!

LiDER:

Mabuhay ang mga makabayang ina at maybahay!

Siyang madalas ay tinatawag

na ilaw ng tahanan. 

Siyang minsan ay nagkuwento

sa isang bayani

ng tungkol sa gamu-gamu

at nakasinding gasera,

Siyang katabi ng pugon at kalan,

upang maihain sa hapag-kainan

ang mainit na sabaw -- arroz caldo, sinigang, champorado, pochero

na ating naaaala tuwing tag-ulan,

panahong maysakit,  malayo sa tahanan,

naghahanap buhay sa ibang bayan,

nakapiit sa kulungan o lunan na walang pangalan.

Mabuhay ang mga makabayang ina at maybahay,

pagkat ang tangan niya ngayon

ay sulo na nagliliyab,

ilaw na matatag,

nagpapaalala ng himagsikan ng Katipunan,

nagbibigay daan sa landas

na ating tinatahak

 upang lumaya nang lubusan

ang ating ina, ang Inang bayan. 

 

Kababaihan, sulo ay tanganan!

 

LAHAT:  Sulo ay tanganan!

 

PAGPUGAY SA ATING MGA LIDER KABABAIHAN

(Para kina Carol, Emmi, Liza at Luz)

 

LIDER:

Mabuhay ang lider kababaihan!

LAHAT:  Mabuhay!

LIDER:

Mabuhay ang lider kababaihan!

Siyang sa atin ay nag-uudyok na magkaisa at lumaban!

Mayroong sa bawat martsa ay kasabay nating naglalakad

Ang iba'y sa kongreso, tagapanggol na mambabatas.

May ilang nasa entablado, nagtatalumpati at naghihikayat

Ang iba'y nammuno sa pulong, matiyagang nagpapaliwanag.

May babaeng simbahan din na ating katuwang

May babaeng lider ng sariling, sektor o hanay.

Lahat sila'y ating sibat at kalasag

sa ano mang pakikibaka.

At sakaling puso'y sumambulat

Babae siyang sa simula't simula

ay inalay na ang lahat, ang lahat-lahat.

 

Lider Kababaihan, mabuhay

 

Dakilain natin ang lahat ng babaeng nakikibaka!

Pagkat ang pakikibaka ay layong dakila!

 

Mabuhay! Mabuhay! Mabuhay!

 

**          

 

 
 

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