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Celebrating the Centennial Year of Working Women's Day with torches

March 8, 2010



Dutch woman holding torch Muslim women

Photos and video courtesy of Consie Taguba, Ilena Saturay and Filipino Refugees in the Netherlands (FREN)
Halinka Agustin of Women Harbour Committee, Rotterdam Turkish woman, member of cleaner's union


Celebrating the Centennial Year of Working Women's Day with torches

Despite the biting cold, women from various organizations came together to commemorate the 100 years of International Working Women's Day full of warmth and fervor.

The protest action was organized by the March 8, 2010 Initiative Group. It was held at the Dam square in Amsterdam and attended by more than a hundred women and men. Most of the delegates were from the FNV (Federation of Dutch Trade Union) cleaner's union, comprising mainly of workers of non-Dutch 0rigin. Currently, the cleaner's union is on a 9-day strike. They are calling for better wages and benefits.

Filipino activists in the Netherlands also joined the activity. Some of them joined Coni Ledesma, spokesperson of MAKIBAKA, on stage to dramatize the abduction of the 43 Health workers in the Philippines. Ledesma spoke about the situation of Filipino women and highlighted the cases of political prisoner Angie Ipong and the 43 Health workers abducted last 6 February of this year. These health workers, mostly women, are still detained in Camp Capinpin in Rizal, Philippines.

Other speakers were from the March 8 Committee Rotterdam, United Domestic Workers, Moroccan Women Association, Turkish Women Association and Cleaner's union. Apart from speeches, there were also poetry reading, singing and community dancing.

At around half past six in the evening, the torches were burned symbolizing the flames of women struggle for rights and welfare.


Coni Ledesma of MAKiIBAKA on the situation of Filipino women

Filipina holding torch Fighting together against poverty and for equal rights  
Interviewing a Turkish woman Signing a petition campaign to release the Morong 43 healt workers  


Speech of Coni Ledesma

Sisters, Comrades and Friends

In behalf of all the struggling women in the Philippines and Makibaka, a revolutionary organization of women in the Philippines and a member organization of National Democratic Front of the Philippines, I convey their greetings to you all on the occasion of International Womenís Day.

We are happy to celebrate today with you , because it is the 100th anniversary of the declaration of International Women's Day. Together with women throughout the world, we celebrate our determination to continue to struggle for better working conditions for women, for just wages, for equality, against patriarchy and for a better future for our children.

Women throughout the Philippines are also celebrating International Women's Day today. Their celebration is in the form of protest actions against the economic and political crisis in the country..
We are also campaigning and demanding the release of political prisoners, especially Angie Ipong, a woman political prisoner who is more than 60 years old, and who continues to be detained even if the case against her has been dropped. Angie was arrested on March 8, five years ago.

We are also campaigning for the release of 43 health workers who were attending a training session and who were illegally arrested, tortured,  denied medical treatment and unjustly detained by the Philippine military. These health workers, work in the rural areas in the Philippines. They are now being accused of being members of the New People's Army.

The Philippine government provides very little health services to people in the rural areas, especially in the mountains. And when doctors, nurses, midwives and health workers do this, they are arrested .

I am appealing to you to join our campaign demanding the release of the 43 health workers and the release of Angie Ipong.

Here in the Netherlands, we also fight against racism, war and the crisis policies. It is when we join hands and fight together for our rights that we can build a better tomorrow.

Coni Ledesma
8 March 2010


Blindfolding a doctor of Morong  43
A Moroccan woman listening intently   Fighting together against poverty
    Cleaners are on strike

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