Marking the 103rd Anniversary of International Women's Day:
Gabriela leads 15,000 marchers to Mendiola in protest against
BSAquino's criminal negligence of women and people's welfare


Liwasang Bonifacio, Mendiola


Away with all pests!


The Women of the First Quarter Storm of 1970: Women "Fully Engaged in the Making of History - by Judy M. Taguiwalo

■ Albay      ■   Masbate      ■  Davao    ■  Roxas City     ■   Tacloban     ■   Tagum City    ■   Southern Tagalog


 March 8, 2014




See video of march by Buhay Manggagawa here

08 March 2014

Reference: JOMS SALVADOR, Secretary General (0918 9182150)/ Public Info Desk (3712302)


More than 10,000 women led the march towards Mendiola near the Malacanang Palace where they held a huge protest action against Pres. Benigno S. Aquino whom they called “pabaya” (negligent) and “pahirap” (burden) to women and their families. Similar women’s protests that gathered thousands of women were also led by GABRIELA chapters in other major cities such as Baguio, Laguna, Legazpi, Naga, Bacolod, Iloilo, Tacloban and Davao.

According to Joms Salvador, Secretary General of GABRIELA, midway through Aquino's term, the lives of women, especially those from the marginalized sectors, have worsened rather than improved contrary to his promise of so-called inclusive growth. “The only sectors he ever included in this questionable growth are the big businesses and hacienderos like him. The number of foodless, homeless, landless and jobless has steadily increased yearly. On the other side, profits of big businesses like Meralco, Manila Water and Petron have grown in leaps and bounds.”

Salvador cited the unabated increase in prices and fees in recent months which has become unbearable for women and their families. “Rice prices, fuel prices, electricity rates, transportation fares, tuition fees, the list goes on and on. Where would women find the money to pay for these when they themselves are jobless, or even if they have jobs, they are bound by just 5 months of contract and receive less than minimum wage with no benefits,” she said.

In the past months, GABRIELA has responded with protest actions in response to these price hikes. They stormed the National Food Authority's warehouse to prove an artificial supply lack. They also barraged the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and Meralco with a series of protests after each announced electricity rate increase. Just yesterday, the women's group picketed the Bureau of Internal Revenue to protest the shame campaign against professionals and the planned taxation of the informal sector even as the agency goes easy on the top 10 billionaires who did not make it to the top 10 taxpayers.

The women's group also took up the cudgels for the victims of Yolanda, mostly women and children, who at exactly four months after, have remained neglected. This morning, they held what they called the “women's black Saturday protest” together with People Surge, an organization of survivors and relatives of victims of Yolanda, in memory of those who perished because of the government's neglect. They tied violet ribbons on the concertina wires that barricade the Pres. Aquino's residence at Times Street in Quezon City.

“While we continue to mourn the fate of our sisters and brothers who died because of the superstorm, we are more enraged by the lack of concern of Aquino and his government for the welfare of the victims. The lives of the victims have not yet normalized and this opportunist government has already bargained their areas to businesses after declaring a “No Build Zone.” Government officials, like vultures, have reportedly gained from kickbacks from substandard bunkhouses and even used the relief goods to perpetuate their own political agenda,” Salvador bemoaned.

In the afternoon main protest action, the marchers symbolically rammed through a more than life-size paper mural of the President and his cohorts enjoying their loot gained from the neo-liberal policies of privatization, liberalization, deregulation and denationalization. “Women will not let such hurdle stop us as we march towards our vision of a society that will create industries that benefit the people rather than capitalists, enrich our lands with harvests that will be shared by all and not only by landlords. We will work to realize this government fit for our children and our children's children,” Salvador ended. ###

Images on the punch-in side
Photos by Rossana Abueva

See video here

Photos by Arkibong Bayan, Rossana Abueva , Agapito Gaddi, Buhay Manggagawa
and  Kilusang Mayo Uno as indicated by the filenames






By Prof. Jose Maria Sison


International League of Peoples' Struggle

March 8, 2014


Imperialism is destroying the lives of women. It is aggravating the exploitation of women and intensifying attacks on women's rights. Through the quintuple  neoliberal policies of pressing down wages, liberalization,  privatization, deregulation and denationalization, imperialism has reversed whatever gains the working women's movement has gained in more than a century of struggles. This is the context of our International Women's Day Commemoration this year.


Strewn along the path of neoliberalism are the tortured bodies of hundreds of millions of working women squeezed dry by monopoly capitalist extraction of superprofits. Outsourcing by big multinational corporations have depressed already low wages of workers, with developing countries trying to outdo each other in offering the lowest possible wages to outbid their rivals for contracts. Contractualization of labor, increased production quotas, shorter breaks, and extended working hours have now become the norm.


In the drive to bring down production costs, safety measures are ignored. Workers are often locked up in workplaces to prevent escapes, thus turning factories into death traps out of factories. In 2013 alone, thousands of women workers perished in fires in factories in the Philippines and Bangladesh. But most devastating was the collapse of a building in Bangladesh, which killed a thousand of women garments workers. These factories manufacture brand-name clothes sold at high prices in the US and EU.


Land and resource grabbing accelerated by neoliberal policies are rendering hundreds of millions of peasant and indigeneous women and their families landless and without income source while imperiling food security. An estimated 80 million hectares of land in many countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia have been subjected to land grab deals, often involving their very own governments. Large-scale mining has destroyed the environment, thus rendering natural disasters more fatal especially to women and children who make up 70% of the victims.


At the base of imperialist globalization are the millions upon millions of women living under slave-like conditions while  the imperialists rake up superprofits.. They fill up the void created by the privatization of social services, such as child and health care. In a world of increasing food prices and food insecurity, they take on multiple work to feed their children. Their vunerability to violence  is heightened by the increasing poverty of their families.


Imperialist economic plunder and competition are the reasons behind the US military pivot to Asia and the Pacific. Its aim is to ensure the continued resource domination of US imperialism in the region.  This in turn will result in the further deterioration of the economic situation of Asia’s peoples. The new basing arrangements and increased rotational presence of US forces will  put  more impoverished young Asian women and children into the clutches of sex exploiters.


Women all over the world are driven by  their dire situation to unite and fight for their rights.  From year to year, as the global crisis worsens, the women’s movement has raised its level of  resolve and militancy and widened its various arenas of action. Women are fighting not only for their very existence but also for the lives of their children and grandchildren. Outraged, they vigorously expose, condemn and oppose the doublespeak of their own governments which try to equate neoliberal policies to development.


Women are at the forefront of mass protests and demands for democratization or anti-militarization, or against neoliberal policies and for genuine land reform and national industrialization. In increasing numbers, they  join national liberation movements as armed fighters. They  build women's organizations that are part of the people's struggle and take up issues that are specific to women such as VAW and women discrimination. In the midst of repressive governments, women have shown courage and have fought for their rights even at the risk of losing their life, limb and liberty.


Women are reaching out to each other  across nations in a show of unprecedented solidarity against imperialism. They are providing support for each other’s struggle. The latest example of  solidarity has been shown by women's organizations from every part of the globe,  including the US, Europe and Canada. to the striking women garments workers of Cambodia.

Ultimately, it is the billions of toiling women, fighting in concert with their toiling brothers and united across the globe, who will strike the deathblow to imperialism.


Women of the world unite!

Resist imperialist plunder and military aggression!

Struggle and fight for women's liberation!





For immediate release
8 March 2014
Reference: GWP Rep. Emmi De Jesus 0917.3221203
GWP Rep. Luz Ilagan 0920.9213221

Women marched to Mendiola to make Aquino accountable for criminal neglect

The Gabriela Women's Party (GWP) marked International Women's Day
(IWD) in simultaneous mass mobilizations in different cities of the
country highlighting the call of Filipino women against privatization
of social services and to defend national patrimony against devious
plots in Congress to railroad Constitutional amendments.

In Manila, Gabriela Rep. Emmi De Jesus joined the huge throng of
chanting, singing and dancing contingent, that reached a peak crowd
size of 15,000, and reached the presidential palace at sunset.

"Sa ika-103 taon ng Pandaigdigang Araw ng Kababaihan, pag-alabin ang
diwa ng makabayan at internasyunalistang kilusang kababaihan. Ang
kilusan ng kababaihan ay nagtatanggol ng buhay, ng kabuhayan,
kasarinlan, at patrimonya, laban sa lahat ng pwersa ng panunupil,
pagsasamantala, at karahasan, na pumapatay sa kababaihan," De Jesus

"On International Women's Day, we pledge to oppose Cha-cha and fight
moves to open our economy and services to foreign capital thereby
opening government hospitals, power, water and other basic services to
foreign business. We must defend our remaining national wealth to
defend the rights of women and reclaim the nation from the failed
presidency of President BS Aquino.
," she added.

In Tacloban City, Rep. Luz Ilagan joined the victims of typhoon
Yolanda to protest the government's criminal neglect of women and
children who marked IWD as the exact fourth month since the disaster
struck on November 8th. Women leaders took turns in denouncing the
Aquino administration's lack of meaningful rehabilitation programs,
and his insistence on rewarding his cronies with juicy reconstruction
deals that would evict residents from their homes.

"Yolanda's winds exposed Aquino as an incompetent, capricious, and
avaricious non-leader, and more so, the most anti-woman president in
history. We make a pledge today to make him accountable for his
criminal neglect," Ilagan ended. ###

Follow me on Twitter @emmidejesus

*Representative EMMI DE JESUS
*Gabriela Women's Party*
*"Babae, Bata, at Bayan.... Tuloy ang Laban!"*


Punching through the barrier to women's full liberation


Press release
March 8, 2014

Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general & Tanggol Bayi convenor (09173162831)
Kiri Dalena, Tanggol Bayi convenor (0920-9755575)


“The BS Aquino regime is a bane to poor Filipino women. His presidency has made lives harder and more dangerous for women, especially those who speak out against rights violations and his anti-poor policies,” said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general and Tanggol Bayi convenor, on the commemoration of International Women’s Day.

Palabay said that “despite the Aquino government’s much-ballyhooed declarations on economic growth under his presidency and on the promotion of equality by his administration, the joblessness rate among women remains high at 35.9% of the labor force, according to the December 2013 survey of the Social Weather Station.” These figures, she said, may be higher because many of the unpaid and family workers are women.

“The Public-Private Partnership program has resulted to forced evictions of poor women and their families from the urban poor communities where such projects were implemented. Poor women also bear the brunt of poverty, as the number of families experiencing hunger in the past years under Aquino has risen,” she added.

Kiri Dalena, co-convenor of Tanggol Bayi said, “as more women are faced with escalating problems, they are also the first to rise to defend their rights, their families’ and their communities’ interests. The Aquino regime seems to be threatened by the poor Filipinas’ defense of their rights, that it has made women human rights defenders targets of state repression.”

Dalena said “18 women activists, most of them human rights defenders, have been killed under the Aquino administration. The loss of these women who have valiantly struggled for genuine pro-people change is unforgiveable.”

Among those killed by state security forces were Cristina Jose, a village councilor and leader of typhoon survivors in Davao Oriental, on March 4, 2013; and Juvy Capion, an anti-mining activist who was massacred in October 2013 together with her two children.

Palabay and Dalena also scored the Aquino administration for its recent appointment of police general Lina Sarmiento as the chairperson of the Martial law victims claims board.

“The appointment of Sarmiento to a top government post is NOT an achievement for Filipino women. It is a grave insult that is tantamount to a slap on the faces of thousands of Filipino women who suffered during the Marcos dictatorship. Aquino successfully proves how he overwhelmingly underestimates our capacity to see through this cheap and superficial shot at women empowerment,” they concluded. ###



Play video: Sulong Kababaihan ng Sining Lila Marso 8, 2014

March to Mendiola from Liwasang Bonifacio


News release
8 March 2014

Reference: Joms Salvador, Secretary General (09189182150)/Public Info Desk (3712302)


Members of GABRIELA and the People Surge Alliance of Yolanda Victims dressed in black mourning clothes pounced on the ancestral home of President Aquino, on the fourth month since typhoon Yolanda wasted Eastern Visayas which falls on 103rd anniversary of the International Working Women’s Day.

At least 200 demonstrators mostly from urban poor areas and the storm-ravaged towns in Leyte choked the length of Times Street and the frontage of the Aquino home to express their anger and hold Aquino accountable for the gross government neglect that lingers over the multitudes of disaster victims in Leyte.

The protesters swooped on the Aquino residence to also highlight the calculated refusal of the president and his cabinet officers in engaging them when they submitted their petition last week at the Malacañang Palace and the Department of Social Welfare and Development. The typhoon victims were demanding the immediate release of P 40,000 to allow each affected family to recover from their losses, among 18 points in the petition signed by 17,000 people.

“As women in many other countries cite the gains in improved quality of life and march in joyful parades, women in the Philippines become even more impoverished and vulnerable to violence and sexual abuse. We are not contented with merely symbolic actions like forming the biggest women sign because it will not do anything good to the long-suffering Filipino women. Our militant marches are the kind of actions needed to push the government into action vis-a-vis the deterioration of women's conditions under the brutal regime of BS Aquino,” said Joms Salvador, secretary general of GABRIELA.

The morning blitzkrieg is just a prelude to the much bigger women’s protest in Manila in the afternoon. More than 10,000 women and their supporters will march to Mendiola Bridge to hold accountable the Aquino regime for its criminal neglect of women and children, especially Yolanda victims, as well as condemn its anti-women, anti-poor actions such as Charter Change in order to sell strategic industries to foreign control. ###



"The women compose about one-half of the Philippine population and they cut through classes. The vast majority of Filipino women, therefore, belong to the oppressed and exploited classes. But in addition to class oppression, they suffer male oppression. The revolutionaries of the opposite sex should exert extra efforts to make possible the widest participation of women in the people’s democratic revolution. They should not take the attitude that it is enough for the men in the family to be in the revolutionary movement. This attitude is actually feudal and it would be to aggravate the old clan and clerical influence on women if they were to be kept out of the revolutionary movement. Women can perform general as well as special tasks in the revolution. This is an effective method for liberating them from the clutches of feudal conservatism and also from the decadent bourgeois misrepresentation of women as mere objects of pleasure."

--- Amado Guerrero, Philippine Society and Revolution


A man in China is usually subjected to the domination of three systems of authority [political authority, family authority and religious authority].... As for women, in addition to being dominated by these three systems of authority, they are also dominated by the men (the authority of the husband). These four authorities - political, family, religious and masculine - are the embodiment of the whole feudal-patriarchal ideology and system, and are the four thick ropes binding the Chinese people, particularly the peasants. How the peasants have overthrown the political authority of the landlords in the countryside has been described above. The political authority of the landlords is the backbone of all the other systems of authority. With that overturned the family authority, the religious authority and the authority of the husband all begin to totter.... As to the authority of the husband, this has always been weaker among the poor peasants because, out of economic necessity, their womenfolk have to do more manual labour than the women of the richer classes and therefore have more say and greater power of decision in family matters. With the increasing bankruptcy of the rural economy in recent years, the basis for men's domination over women has already been undermined. With the rise of the peasant movement, the women in many places have now begun to organize rural women's associations; the opportunity has come for them to lift up their heads, and the authority of the husband is getting shakier every day. In a word, the whole feudal-patriarchal ideology and system is tottering with the growth of the peasants' power.

"Report on an Investigation of the Peasant Movement in Hunan" (March 1927), Selected Works, Vol. I, pp. 44-46.*

Unite and take part in production and political activity to improve the economic and political status of women.

Inscription for the magazine, Women of New China, printed in its first issue, July 20, 1949.



Protect the interests of the youth, women and children - provide assistance to young students who cannot afford to continue their studies, help the youth and women to organize in order to participate on an equal footing in all work useful to the war effort and to social progress, ensure freedom of marriage and equality as between men and women, and give young people and children a useful education....

"On Coalition Government" (April 24, 1945), Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 288.*

[In agricultural production] our fundamental task is to adjust the use of labour power in an organized way and to encourage women to do farm work.

"Our Economic Policy" (January 23, 1934), Selected Works, Vo1. I, p. 142.*

In order to build a great socialist society it is of the utmost importance to arouse the broad masses of women to join in productive activity. Men and women must receive equal pay for equal work in production. Genuine equality between the sexes can only be realized in the process of the socialist transformation of society as a whole.

Introductory note to "Women Have Gone to the Labour Front" (1955), The Socialist Upsurge in China's Countryside, Chinese ed., Vol. I.

With the completion of agricultural cooperation, many co-operatives are finding themselves short of labour. It has become necessary to arouse the great mass of women who did not work in the fields before to take their place on the labour front.... China's women are a vast reserve of labour power. This reserve should be tapped in the struggle to build a great socialist country.

Introductory note to "Solving the Labour Shortage by Arousing the Women to Join in Production" (1955), The Socialist Upsurge in China's Countryside, Chinese ed., Vol. II.

Enable every woman who can work to take her place on the labour front, under the principle of equal pay for equal work. This should be done as quickly as possible.

Introductory note to "On Widening the Scope of Women's Work in the Agricultural Co-operative Movement" (1955), The Socialist Upsurge in China's Countryside, Chinese ed., Vol. I.





For reference, contact: Cham Perez, 0915-6531122 | (02) 411-2796


Ang Center for Women’s Resources (CWR) ay sumasang-ayon na dapat bigyang pugay ang katatagan at kagalingan ng kababaihang Pilipino. Kung tutuusin, ang pagbibigay-pugay sa kababaihan ay hindi lamang sa Marso 8, sa Pandaigdigang Araw ng Kababaihan, kundi sa araw-araw na pagpupunyagi nila para mabuhay at mapaunlad ang kanilang potensyal.

Araw-araw, kailangan ng kababaihan na makipagbuno para lamang may mahanap na pagkain, disenteng trabaho, at de-kalidad na panlipunang serbisyo. Mahigit isang milyong kababaihan ang walang mahanap na trabaho. Mahigit dalawang milyon naman ang binibilang na “unpaid family worker”. Sa mga nakakahanap ng trabaho, 35% sa kanila ay nasa mababang antas na binibigyan ng sahod na ?150.00 sa average.

May 23.7 milyong mahihirap na Pilipino resulta ng kawalan ng kabuhayan sa kanayunan at oportunidad na makapagtrabaho. Walang rekurso para makakuha ng disenteng bahay, masustansyang pagkain, makapagtapos ng pag-aaral, at de-kalidad na serbisyong pangkalusugan.

Dahil sa walang matino at maagap na katugunan ang pamahalaan para sa pangangailangan ng kababaihan, nasasadlak sila sa karahasan. May 11 nanganganak ang namamatay sa araw-araw. May isang babae na nabubugbog kada 31 minuto. May isang babae o bata na nagagahasa kada oras at 21 minuto. May isang babae o bata na naha-harassed kada 2 oras at 25 minuto.

Noong nakaraang taon, ang Eastern Visayas, isa sa mga rehiyon na may pinakamataas na tantos ng kahirapan ay sinalanta ng bagyong Yolanda. Dahil sa kahirapan, walang sapat na sariling rekurso ang mamamayan para makaagapay sa sakuna. Higit kailanman, ang pagsisilbi at ayuda na galing sa pamamahalaan ni Pres. BS Aquino ang sana’y nakatulong sa kanila.

Pero ano ang nangyari? Sa mabagal at di-sapat na pagtugon o kawalan ng pagtugon ay napatunayan ang pagwawalang-bahala ni Pres. BS Aquino sa mamamayan, lalo na sa mga nasa mababang saray ng lipunan. Ayon sa mga kababaihang nakaligtas sa bagyong Yolanda, tatlong araw na matapos ang sakuna nang dumating ang relief goods mula sa gobyernong Aquino. Nauna pang dumating ang trak-trak na puno ng sundalo – kasama ang mga Amerikanong sundalo - para diumano’y proteksyon sa kaguluhang nangyayari at sa kumakalat na pananakot na may mga nakawalang bilanggong pumapasok sa kabahayan at nanggagahasa ng kababaihan.

Imbes na bigyang pondo ang mga nasalanta para makapagpatayo ng kanilang bahay, nagpasya ang gobyernong Aquino na ito na gumawa ng bunkhouses na aabot sa halos isang milyon bawat isa, gayong kasinglaki lamang ito ng mesa ng pingpong. Bukod pa dito, pinagbawalan pa nitong magtayong muli ng kabahayan ang mga residente sa malapit sa dagat, pero puwedeng pagtayuan ng mga kumpanya ng resort. Imbes na magbigay ng binhi at iba pang kagamitang pang-araro sa mga magsasaka, ibinuyangyang ng gobyernong Aquino ang buong rehiyon sa 18 malalaking kumpanya nina Ayala, Pangilinan, Aboitiz, Sy, Tan, at iba pa na kabilang sa 50 pinakamayamang pamilya ng bansa. Ang mga pinakamayamang ito, na kumakain ng 25% ng ating GDP, ang siya ring ka-partner ni Pangulong BS Aquino para sa kanyang programang Public-Private Partnership.

Ngayon, pagkatapos ng higit 100 araw mula ng sakuna, wala pa ring kaayusang makikita sa kalakhan ng Eastern Visayas. Dahil sa kagutuman at walang mahanap na oportunidad sa lugar, may mga nabalitang mga kabataang babae na naging biktima ng trafficking.

Sa maraming nagdaang krisis at kalamidad ng 2013 lalo na ang bagyong Yolanda, napagtanto at napatunayan ng kababaihan na ang lakas ng mamamayan ang siyang tanging makakapagpabangon sa kanila at sa kanilang pamilya. Naging malinaw sa kababaihan na sa gitna ng krisis at kalamidad, tanging ang lakas ng bawat isa sa kanila sampu ng mamamayan ang maaasahan. Ang mamamayan ang kaagad na sumuporta at kumalinga sa kanila noong militarisasyon sa Zamboanga, lindol sa Bohol at Cebu, at sa bagyong Yolanda. Sa tulong ng bawat isa, unti-unti silang bumabangon.

Marapat lamang na bigyang pugay ang katatagan ng kababaihang Pilipino. At ngayon, higit kailanman, marapat nilang siingilin ang isang gobyernong nag-abandona at nagpabaya habang sila ay lugmok sa mga naranasang kalamidad. Para sa kababaihan, tama na ang mga salita’t retorika. Kailangan nila ang kongkretong aksyon na sasagot sa kanilang pangangailangan sa trabaho, pagkain, at panlipunang serbisyo. Kaya ang “pag-arangkada tungo sa minimithing malawakang kaunlaran” ay malayo pang matatamasa ng kababaihang anakpawis hangga’t hindi binibigyang prayoridad ng gobyernong Aquino ang kanilang pangangailangan at kagalingan. ###

Center for Women's Resources
127-B Sct. Fuentebella St., Brgy. Sacred Heart
Quezon City 1103 Philippines
Tel. +632 411-2796
Telefax +632 920-1373




For immediate release

8 March 2014
Reference: GWP Rep. Emmi De Jesus 0917.3221203
GWP Rep. Luz Ilagan 0920.9213221

Women furious over Valte on "common ground"

On International Women's Day, the militant partylist group Gabriela branded as ludicrous the remarks made yesterday by Malacañang spokeswoman Abigail Valte that questioned the party's position that the Aquino regime has cast a significant sector of women into vicious cycle of poverty and violence.

"The Palace is believing its own ridiculous illusions about the supposed gains of women, when our masses are testifying that increased prices of rice, fuel, and electricity are driving women into penury. We take exception from the impression that Valte is trying to make, that Gabriela and the palace have a common ground in efforts to reduce violence against women, because Aquino's ivory tower strategy is worlds apart from our real grassroots work," De Jesus said as Gabriela activists swarmed the doorstep of Aquino's private residence in Quezon City.

Valte, in dismissing statements by Gabriela party-list Reps. Luz Ilagan and Emmi de Jesus that assault on women’s rights has worsened under President Aquino's policies, only relied on the few posts taken by females on top of government and private sector as proof of women empowerment and that women are feared in his administration.

"Aquino thinks posting a woman police general in the human rights claims board is woman empowerment, covering up horrendous rapes and sexual abuses under his administration," added De Jesus who was also illegally arrested and detained during the martial law years.

Rep. Ilagan who is in Tacloban for women's protests in the city noted that Aquino and his cabinet with token women secretaries are in a damage control mode. "So now the DSWD secretary Dinky Soliman scrambled to have five trucks of rice sent here today on international women's day and exactly four months after Yolanda destroyed the Visayas, knowing that starving mothers are angry over the delayed rehabilitation. Valte should try repeating what she just said in front of all these women she has insulted," Ilagan said.

"We could never be in the same ground with a negligent, callous and unrepentant, lying president," Ilagan ended###

Representative EMMI DE JESUS
Gabriela Women's Party
"Babae, Bata, at Bayan.... Tuloy ang Laban!"




Media Release
08 March 2014

On 103rd Intl Women’s Day
Aquino’s ‘rape of motherland’ hit by women workers

Thousands of females and males from the ranks of workers and the urban poor led by national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno joined the national protest on the 103rd International Women’s Day to condemn what they call the Aquino government’s “rape of our motherland.”

The labor group condemned Pres. Noynoy Aquino for presiding over the exploitation of the country’s natural and human resources by big foreign and local capitalists, and working to amend the 1987 Constitution in order to remove the latter’s remaining nationalist provisions and to allow the wholesale return of US military bases to the country.

“Filipino women from the ranks of workers and the poor are rising up against the Aquino government’s rape of our motherland. For three years, Aquino has presided over the severe exploitation of our country’ natural and human resources by his real bosses, the big foreign and local capitalists,” said Nenita “Ka Nitz” Gonzaga, KMU vice-chairperson for women affairs.

Before converging with other groups in the main program at Liwasang Bonifacio, women from the ranks of workers and the urban poor gathered at Plaza Lacson in Sta. Cruz, Manila and held a “One Billion Rising” dance protest against the railroading of Aquino’s Charter Change in Congress.

“Aquino is using all his powers to abuse our motherland by trying to change the Constitution and allow foreign big capitalists to turn our country’s resources, public services, and utilities into their own private businesses. It is becoming clear to an increasingly growing number of people that he should be stopped,” Gonzaga said.

She said Aquino is mistaken if he thinks he can railroad his Cha-cha and that workers and the poor, especially the women, are determined to rise up and stop the sell-out of our motherland like they did with previous government’s attempt to carry out the Cha-cha.

The militant labor center also condemned Aquino’s collusion with the United States government in trying to bring back US military bases to the country as part of the world superpower’s political, economic and military pivot to Asia.

“By allowing the return of US military bases to the country, Aquino is allowing US troops to rape our women as part of their rest and recreation, to rape our environment with their nuclear-powered ships and toxic wastes, and most of all to rape our country’s national sovereignty,” said Gonzaga.

Women workers ended today’s protest at Mendiola with a vow to intensify protests and resistance against the Aquino government, warning Aquino that should he push through with Cha-cha and the return of US military bases, they are prepared to rise up and fight for Aquino’s ouster.

Reference: Nenita “Nitz” Gonzaga, KMU vice-chair for women’s affairs, 0928-2794241






Media Release
08 March 2014

New group vs. contractual employment joins Women’s Day march

The Samahan ng Manggagawang Kontraktwal or SAMA-AKO, a new group from the ranks of workers and the urban poor calling for regular jobs and an end to contractual employment, joined today’s International Women’s Day protests in Manila, saying contractualization affects women more than men.

The group called for the junking of the Aquino government’s Department Order 18-A Series of 2011, which it claimed legalizes contractual employment and has not resulted in the regularization of workers as promised by the Labor Department when the order was released.

“We join today’s Women’s Day protests in behalf of all the women workers who are most exploited and oppressed by contractual employment. Today, we vow to intensify our struggle for an end to contractual employment in the country,” said Rey Cagomoc, SAMA-AKO convenor and spokesperson.

Cagomoc, who is also president of the Samahan ng mga Janitors sa Politeknikong Unibersidad ng Pilipinas (SJPUP) composed of contractual janitors of the state university, said the known havens of contractual employment in the country are also known concentration of female employment.

He cited the country’s export-processing zones where 80 to 90 per cent of workers are said to be contractuals, as well as the service sector of the economy especially the malls, banks and hotels.

“We take inspiration from the origins of March 8, in which women workers stood up to demand better working conditions for both male and female workers. More than 100 years after the first International Women’s Day was held, oppressive and exploitative working conditions continue and workers, both men and women, have to rise up to fight to end these,” Cagomoc said.

On March 8, 1857, women garment workers in New York City protested, for the first time, the 12-hour work day, low wages and inhuman working conditions in general, but were attacked and dispersed by the police. After two years, the same women formed their union in March.

On March 8, 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City to call for shorter working hours, better pay, voting rights and an end to child labor. They used as slogan “Bread and Roses” to symbolize both economic security and a better quality of life.

“The gains achieved by the struggles of workers, both men and women, have been eroded by big capitalists for the past decades. We have been thrown back to the days of extreme exploitation of workers. We need to continue and intensify the struggle for better working conditions,” Cagomoc ended.

Reference: Rey Cagomoc, SAMA-AKO convenor, 0999-9541117






Kabataan Party-List
Rm. 616, North Wing, Batasang Pambansa, Quezon City
March 8, 2014


On International Women’s Day
Youth groups march against ‘rape of motherland’

Cong. Terry Ridon, Kabataan Partylist Representative (09155310725)
Marjohara Tucay, Kabataan Partylist National Media Officer (09202205556)

In commemoration of the International Women’s Day, youth groups march along with women’s rights advocates in Manila to protest the “rape of our motherland” through local and foreign exploitation.

“On Women’s Day, we seek not only to end all violence perpetrated against women but also to address the primordial roots of violence in our country – the continued and intensifying foreign exploitation of our sovereignty and environment,” said Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon.

The youth legislator noted that Philippine sovereignty “is currently being challenged at all fronts,” with China encroaching on our territorial waters, the United States intensifying its military presence in the country, and the Philippine legislature seemingly willing to surrender our sovereignty through charter change.

“Not only are we facing military encroachment from both Beijing and Washington, but here in our very Congress, there is an ongoing move to surrender our sovereignty. With charter change resurrected in Congress, the rape of our motherland will undoubtedly intensify, with new economic provisions allowing the unbridled entry of foreign companies in the country to exploit our natural resources,” Ridon added.

Last Monday, the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments approved Resolution of Both Houses No. 1 principally authored by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte. RHB 1 seeks to revise the Article XII (National Patrimony and Economy), Article XIV (Education, Science and Technology, Arts, Culture, and Sports), and Article XVI (General Provisions) of the 1987 Constitution by inserting the phrase “unless otherwise specified by law” in pertinent sections.

“Why do we say that violence emanates from foreign intervention and exploitation? Throughout history, violence has been perpetrated by invaders upon conquest of new lands. From the Spaniards to the continuing domination of the Americans, our nation has continuously been beaten and persecuted to the point of subjugation,” Ridon said.

“With foreign troops continuing to march on our lands and seas, there is no end to violence. To end violence against women is therefore tantamount to expelling foreign intervention and defending our sovereignty from the hands of Beijing, Washington and even the local ruling elites,” Ridon added.

“Where foreign troops go, lives are lost, women are abused, and our sovereignty is raped. To end violence perpetrated against women and the country, we must rise up to the challenge – let us expel foreign troops and destructive multinational companies in the Philippines. Women and citizens of the country, unite!” Ridon challenged.###




Purple day celeb, Yolanda victims upsurge
March 8, 2014 at 10:58pm
March 8, 2014

ROXAS CITY, CAPIZ – Four (4) months since the supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan) ravaged the province of Capiz. But then, victims are becoming more devastated not by its wrath but by the government’s abandonment.

As the workingwomen around the world commemorate the International Women’s Day (IWD) today, survivors are still demanding from the government for their recovery. Over 5,000 survivors in the province gather in front of the Capiz Provincial Capitol grounds to call for the release of Php 30,000 financial assistance as promised by Interior & Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas.

It could be recalled that last February 14, Buylog sa Pagbangon Capiznon (Buylog Capiz), a loose alliance of Yolanda survivors, people’s organizations and advocates, have submitted its first wave of petitions to the pertinent government agencies and to the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Worst case is that the government’s emergency food assistance, specifically the rice that were given through the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps) last February 27 cause indigestion among its beneficiaries. It is also noticeable that the sack has WFP imprint.

Elma Deanon Chairperson of Gabriela Roxas City Chapter lambasted the government after their dialogue with UNOCHA, “not only that the government failed to help us, but it aggravated our sufferings through this rotten style of lending a hand.”

This was also reaffirmed by Marivic Aguirre, an Indigenous Peoples leader of Tumanduk from Tapaz, Capiz, who was also with the UNOCHA dialogue. In an interview, she recounted how the IPs were disgusted of the food packs they received last November 26. “IP communities who availed the food assistance endured indigestion and extreme stomach discomfort. Some of the canned sardines were already bloated,” she angrily added.

The group also rallied for the resistance of anti-poor and anti-people government policies that aggravates the survivor’s agony. During the march-protest, the youth sector also dramatized the passion of Jesus to reflect that His struggle is to liberate the masses from oppression.

Other pertinent issues were also not spared, the group also objects for the implementation of City Ordinance No. 018, series of 2013 otherwise known as “An Ordinance Establishing the Roxas City Integrated Transport Terminal for Inter-Provincial and Municipal Public Utility Vehicles and Imposing Perimeter Boundaries for the Purpose of Regulation.” They demanded for a moratorium to stop the operation and call for the immediate construction of a Genuine Public Transport Terminal to be located in an accessible and convenient environment for the riding public.

It was also brought-up the strong opposition of the No Build Zone Policy (No Dwell Zone). According to Emma Pedrano this policy is, “a proof that our president and this government is an oppressor of the unfortunate, but because we are united, we should not give up, instead, we must strike and upsurge.” ###

GABRIELA Roxas City Chapter
Media Bureau
Email Address:





Revolution is the only enduring path towards the genuine liberation of women
Jorge Madlos (Ka Oris)
NDFP Mindanao Chapter

March 08, 2014

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Mindanao gives praise to all toiling Filipino women on the celebration of International Women’s Day, saluting revolutionary women in particular for their perseverance in consistently carrying forward the struggle for genuine women’s liberation along the line of the national democratic revolution.

The exploitation and oppression of women continues to intensify under the present semi-feudal and semi-colonial system, which is perpetuated by US imperialism and its local lackeys whose current handpicked head of state, Benigno Aquino III, treats women like objects. Filipino women suffer greatly under a social order that perpetuates women as passive, inferior, decorative members of society and domestic slaves, given only tokenistic recognition of their rights, unheeding to the struggles of their sector.

In the Mindanao countryside, empowered women play an active role in the campaigns to advance the minimum program of the revolutionary agrarian reform, securing some economic gains for the communities and women position in the budding revolutionary local organs of political power. Women Communist Party members are highly dedicated in their service to the people’s revolution. They occupy leadership positions in guerrilla fronts, platoon committees of the New People’s Army and revolutionary mass organizations. Brave women Red commanders and fighters have excelled in many tactical offensives launched by the NPA.

The aggressive expansion of large-scale plantations in Mindanao, such as those owned by agri-giants Dole, Del Monte and Sumifru, aggravate the suffering of women peasants and agricultural workers. In the face of widespread people’s resistance, however, these multinationals are hindered from their usual operations of exploitation and expansion. These profit-hungry monopolies rely on naked fascism to rid themselves of these hindrances. But, women peasants have shown extraordinary daring in the fight against massive land grabbing, militarization and environmental destruction. They are the inspiration of women commanders and Red fighters who have participated in NPA punitive actions against these companies.

Women workers suffer even more by receiving inhuman wages and labouring under extremely poor conditions. In urban areas, more and more women are unemployed and forced to leave their children and families behind in search of better-paying albeit demeaning jobs overseas. Thousands of youths are compelled to stop their schooling because of the Aquino III regime’s utter disregard for their wellbeing by grossly misusing the budget supposedly allotted for basic social services especially for education, pushing women youth to the brink of hopelessness and misfortune. As it is, many Filipino families suffer from hunger, destitution, and are often veered towards criminality and other forms of anti-social activities.

Women and children in areas hit by supertyphoons, such as the recent typhoons Sendong, Pablo and Yolanda, are predisposed to hunger and deprived of shelter and sources of livelihood. Up to now, aid for relief and rehabilitation from the reactionary government remain meagre; the lives of millions in typhoon-hit areas have not recovered an inch ever since the tragedy. Similarly, hundreds of women and their children continue to reap the dire effects of the reactionary state’s militarist handling of last year’s Zamboanga siege. Due to government neglect, the evacuees have continue to have no homes to return to; a number have died of illnesses in the evacuation area, and, as reports have it, some have fallen victim to rape and other forms of crime and harassment.

Bangsamoro women, for their part, must be critical of recently signed Agreement on the Bangsamoro between the MILF and the GPH because, contrary to what has been declared by the Aquino III government, this so-called peace pact cannot guarantee their liberation from the traditional bondage feudal exploitation, oppression and chauvinism. They must never allow the reactionary government to render worthless the gains of the armed struggle of the Moro people, which they have waged for decades for the realization of their right to self-determination.

The US-Aquino regime is without doubt anti-people and anti-women. The interests of its own class and its imperialist master shamelessly take precedence over the interests of its own people. The policies and programs of Aquino III’s administration only serve to aggravate the exploitation and oppression of the Filipino people, most especially women. It is only necessary therefore to strengthen efforts at arousing and organizing millions of women for an organized struggle in the assertion of their rights and welfare.

The national democratic revolution on the other hand fully recognizes the rights of women and struggles for their genuine liberation. And to achieve them, armed revolution has been recognized as the only enduring path. Many Filipino women have responded to the call of the revolution and organized themselves into the MAKIBAKA, an allied revolutionary organization of women in the NDFP.

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, we call upon all women and the people in general to join the growing movement for the ouster of Benigno Aquino III. Amplify the call: Oust Aquino III now!

We also call on more women to join the ranks of women cadres and revolutionaries in the countryside as their great contribution to further the advancement of the women struggle for liberation and the attainment of the eventual victory of the people’s war towards socialism.


PeopleSurge at the BSAquino Home on Times Street
before proceeding to Liwasan and Mendiola

Click here for video

Press Release
March 8, 2014

Yolanda survivors outraged over DSWD’s machinations to cover-up for criminal negligence

The People Surge alliance from Eastern Visayas today scored the Aquino government for putting the Yolanda survivors through a trial by ordeal as evinced by Department of Social Welfare and Development Sec. Corazon “Dinky” Soliman trying to sow discord among the Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) survivors.

“It seems the Aquino government wants to make the Yolanda survivors prove themselves by forcing them to go through a trial by ordeal,” said Sr. Edita Eslopor, People Surge spokesperson. “The Yolanda survivors have already launched a mass demonstration of 12,000 last January 25 as well as presented a petition signed by 17,585 survivors. What more does the government want, that people will start dying in the thousands as they bound to do if the government does not intervene?

“Dinky Soliman stoops so low as to inveigle some Yolanda survivors into saying that they are happy with the government's handling of the Yolanda humanitarian crisis. How can the survivors be happy when even the government data from DSWD show otherwise? The DSWD has not been able to feed the survivors for the past more than 100 days, who have been forced to make ends meet just so they could survive on a subsistence level. The DSWD's “cash-for-work” program benefitted only some 16,000 survivors out of hundreds of thousands looking for livelihood, and for ten days only at that.”

Eslopor added that Soliman took the trouble to fly to Leyte and make some survivors sign papers in haste praising the government and the DSWD, when representatives of the survivors were already in Manila to bring their plight to President Aquino. In another case, some victims are being bribed for as much as P1,200 in exchange for their signatures signifying satisfaction over services of the DSWD.

“We think Soliman is trying to save her career to the detriment of the Yolanda survivors. We remind the public that this is not the first time that Soliman and the DSWD, the entire Aquino government, have been called to account for their miserable performance. Do we remember typhoons Pablo and Ondoy, not to mention the Bohol earthquake? How people languished under the heat of the sun and under the rain, while the DSWD and the Aquino took their perversely procrastinating time to deliver emergency services to the people? People are suffering and dying out there, and here is Dinky Soliman, waving papers to say everybody is happy. What exactly does she want except to save her own skin and not the lives of the people?”

The People Surge alliance called on Soliman to stop using the Yolanda survivors to save her political career. “If Dinky Soliman cannot do it, she must resign. That is the honorable thing to do and it will give somebody else the chance to make up for the lost opportunities the DSWD had to attend to the people. But if Soliman must resign, the pressure is much greater on President Aquino and his government. Soliman is only one functionary of the Aquino government, but is her negligence the sum of its parts? The Aquino government’s continuing negligence rouses more and more people fighting for justice.”


Sr. Edita Eslopor, OSB
Chairperson, People Surge


The Women of the First Quarter Storm of 1970: Women "Fully Engaged in the Making of History

by Judy M. Taguiwalo
Department of Women and Development Studies
College of Social Work and Community Development
University of the Philippines
Diliman, Quezon City

Presentation to the Filipino-Canadian Youth Alliance Conference "Filipino-Canadian Youth Looking at the Past for the Future"
November 24-26, 2005
Vancouver, British Colombia


….We live our lives, we tell our stories. The dead continue to live by way of the resurrection we give them in telling their stories. The past becomes part of our present and thereby part of our future. We act individually and collectively in a process over time which builds the human enterprise and tries to give it meaning. Being human means thinking and feeling; it means reflecting on the past and visioning into the future. We experience; we give voice to that experience; others reflect on it and give it new form. That new form in turn, influences and shapes the way next generations experience their lives.

That is why history matters

Gerda Lerner, "Why History Matters" in Why History Matters, Life and Thought. Oxford University Press: New York, Oxford, 1997: 211

History matters. My generation gained inspiration from the study and rereading of Philippine history and the struggle and sacrifices of the heroes and heroines of the 1896 Philippine Revolution and the Philippine American war not as an academic undertaking but as part of the efforts of continuing the unfinished tasks of asserting national sovereignty and genuine democracy. 

Women's studies for its part has a unique niche in academe. Based on the premise of the reality of women's oppression and the need to advance women's position in society, women-centered research and teaching have the dual aims of scholarship and advocacy. 

The year 2005 commemorates 100 years of feminism in the Philippines and the 30th year of the First Quarter Storm of 1970. In 1905, "a group of prominent ladies of the times organized the Asociacion Feminista Filipina" . The character of the Asociacion Feminista Filipina, whose founding in June 2005 is considered the founding year of feminism in the Philippines, was predominantly welfare-oriented.The call for women's right to suffrage would be raised a year later, when Pura Villanueva Kalaw, the grandmother of Consuelo Ledesma-Jalandoni of the National Democratic Front, founded in 1906 the Asociacion Feminista Ilonga. It took over 30 years of vigorous organizing and campaigns by educated and elite women before the Filipino women would receive the right to vote in 1937. 

The First Quarter Storm of 1970 (FQS 1970) marks the series of widespread protests in Metro Manila against the then administration of Ferdinand Marcos and signified the resurgence of nationalist struggle in the country which has been dormant since the 50s. The ferment of the FQS would lead to a frenzy of organizing among the students, community youth, workers and farmers. The Malayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan (MAKIBAKA),established in April 1970, brought together women activists who espoused women's liberation in the context of national liberation. The establishment of MAKIBAKA is considered a major landmark in the history of the women's movement in the country as it articulated the oppression suffered by Filipino women and the need for women's liberation through participation in the nationalist struggle. 

This paper will focus on MAKIBAKA. As a professor of women's studies in the University of the Philippines, as a student participant in the FQS of 1970 and as a founding member of MAKIBAKA, I would like to contribute to current efforts to end the invisibility of women in history and more importantly to reiterate that the path that MAKIBAKA pioneered remains the path to women's emancipation in the Philippines. 

I will be using two basic historical methods in the writing of this paper: review of written primary sources and my personal testimonial as a participant of the FQS of 1970 

Background of the FQS 

The 1960s saw the formation of a radical youth organization, the Kabataang Makabayan (KM) which called for the radical restructuring of society. Its analysis of US imperialist, big comprador and big landlord collusion as the source of the backwardness of the country led to its adoption of a program for national democracy. The main contents of the program were the assertion of national sovereignty by ending US domination of the country and the attainment of genuine democracy through land distribution to the peasantry and ensuring political freedom for the broad masses of the people. 

Founded in 1964, KM went on to build a student reform movement in the universities on the basis of demands for lower tuition, improvement of student facilities and democratization of university governance. At the same time, it developed links with peasant and trade union leaders and organizations with progressive tendencies. It also initiated protest actions against Philippine involvement in the Vietnam work and established student-worker and student-peasant alliances through support for working class struggles for higher wages and lower land rent. 

By January 1970, the organizational groundwork of KM and Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan (SDK, an offshoot of a 1966 split within KM but which reestablished working relations with the latter by 1969) and the intensification of the economic hardship of the people due to runaway inflation caused by the overspending of the Marcos government in its 1969 reelection campaign, were conditions that gave birth to what is now called the First Quarter Storm of 1970. 

The widespread use of truncheons and teargas against young university students to break up the January 26, 1970 demonstration in front of Congress led to an indignation march on January 30 to the presidential palace which ended in the deaths of four students. 

The succeeding two months were marked by intense political mobilization and education. Rallies after rallies were held not only to denounce "police brutality" but to link it to fascism, US imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. These demonstrations attended by tens of thousands of the youth from the various universities in Metro Manila and from the communities and factories became the fora for explaining the national democratic program as an alternative and for raising the option of revolutionary armed struggle to counter state violence. 

The First Quarter Storm of 1970 generated the widespread propagation of the basic problems of the Filipino people and the alternatives and methods espoused by the national democratic movement. It also produced thousands of youth activists who organized in the provinces and who integrated with the workers and peasants to lay the basis for the realization of a national and mass-based national democratic movement in the Philippines. And it led to the formation of a contemporary women's movement that forwarded the analysis that women's liberation is inextricably linked with national and class liberation. 

The formation of MAKIBAKA 

The national democratic youth organizations prior to the First Quarter Storm already recognized the need for drawing in the participation of women in the movement. A women's bureau was part of the organizational structure of the Kabataang Makabayan upon its formation in 1964. The need for a particular machinery for women is based on the movement's recognition of the particularity of women's oppression and on the political premise of the crucial need to draw the support of women for the movement as they comprise "half of the sky". Young female students and professionals joined Kabataang Makabayan and other youth organizations on the basis of the political program for national sovereignty and genuine democracy. The potential of women's emancipation through participation in the revolutionary struggle was borne out by information on strides women have made in countries where revolutions were victorious. However, even with the rise in the number of women members and the existence of a women's bureau within the youth organizations, theoretical and concrete practical work related to women's issues was limited. For example, the celebration of March 8 as International Women's Day would not be commemorated until 1971. 

The reemergence of a women's movement in the post-world war II period was marked by the formation in April 1970 of an all-women's group, the Malayang Kilusang ng Bagong Kababaihan (Free Movement of New Women) with the inspired acronym of MAKIBAKA which is the Filipino term for struggle. 

MAKIBAKA's formation was an offshoot of the broader political movement and was influenced by the activities of the women's liberation in the west that have been reported in the mainstream media. Women activists from the various national democratic youth organizations banded together to launch the first militant all-women activity, a picket of a major beauty contest which echoed a women's action in London in that year. This initial activity was significant not merely because of its all-women character but also because it raised for the first time a woman-specific issue; the commodification of women through beauty contests, a concern never before addressed by the national movement. As a result of this activity, several women activists decided to transform MAKIBAKA from its initial character as a loose coalition to a distinct all-women youth organization. 

Advancing the Women's Liberation Movement in the Philippines 

MAKIBAKA became one of the youth organizations espousing and propagating an anti-imperialist, anti-feudal and anti-fascist line in what was then called the "Second Propaganda Movement" recognizing its links with the "First Propaganda Movement" which was the precursor of the founding of the Katipunan and the 1896 Philippine revolution. MAKIBAKA's uniqueness was in its efforts to elaborate on the general statements that working class women suffer double oppression as members of their class and as women and that women can perform general and specific tasks in the movement. 

Ma. Lorena Barros, anthropology major from the University of the Philippines and a poet became MAKIBAKA's founding chair. In "Liberated Women: I", Laurie (Lorena Barros' nickname) wrote: 

"Women comprise more than half of the oppressed Filipino people and thus share with men a common burden of social and economic exploitation. In addition to class oppression, however, women suffer male oppression. This second type of oppression is justified by a feudal conservatism which relegates women to the category of domestic chattel, and by a decadent bourgeois misrepresentation of women as mere pleasurable objects.

…Notwithstanding this doubly oppressive condition, however, women comprise one of the most conservative sectors of Philippine society.

Conservative wives and mothers perform the very important social task of perpetuating the values of the old corrupt order. …(T)hey produce nice little girls who never dare to question what anyone in authority says, who themselves believe that women "should be seen, not heard, in short, …nice little girls who will be exactly like their mothers: quiet, obedient, passive and suffering their husbands' philandering and saintly acquiescence to the status quo."

(Ma Lorena Barros. "Liberated Women:I" in The Business Viewpoint, Sixth Issue, Vol. III, No. 2, 2nd semester 1970-71.UP College of Business Administration: 65

Lauri continued with an elaboration of what liberation of women meant:

It means first of all that since the exploitation of women both as members of the oppressed class and as a social group rests on an economic base, liberation entails a restructuring of the economic system and from there the superstructure which is built on. Liberation cannot consists merely of a "change of heart" in either the exploiter or exploited, a turnabout of values. Nor can liberation start from such a "change of heart"; rather it is change in the material conditions which will bring about a "change of hear".

Second, the broad masses of the Filipino people must first be liberated before any sector, such a women, can be liberated. The primary exploitative relation, that between the American imperialists and the landlord-comprador-bureaucrat capitalist allies on the one hand and the Filipino masses on the other, must first of all be destroyed. Only then can new energies be released which will set into motion the social forces necessary for the elimination of other exploitative relations and the construction of a truly, just, equalitarian society.

Third, the liberation of women will not be a boon granted to them by their male liberators; women must seize their freedom, women must fight for it, must smash their prison walls themselves. Otherwise, they will once more be beholden to men, captive to a new set of obligations. Moreover as Frantz Fanon has argued so well, it is only action, usually violent action which is liberating. (ibid:66-67)

Jose Ma. Sison's message to the First National Congress of MAKIBAKA in 1972 forwarded the analysis of the specific character and source of women's oppression in the Philippines and the current central task of the women's liberation movement

In a semi-colonial and semi-feudal country like the Philippines, it is inevitable that women like men suffer from the three systems of authority, such as political authority, clan authority and religious authority. In addition however, women suffer from the authority of the husband or what we may call "male authority". These four authorities that women have to contend with can easily be seen as expressions of the feudal-patriarchal ideology and system. Though in urban areas, there seems to be blatant reign of bourgeois ideas and values, perceived in their most decadent forms as bred by a cultural imperialism; the feudal-patriarchal ideology and system persists as a countrywide base for prejudices against women. Decades of modern imperialist culture lay over centuries of feudal patriarchalism in our history.

…..It is extremely important for the Women's Liberation Movement to grasp the line that political authority is the backbone of all the other systems of authority. By overturning that authority, we begin to overturn all the other systems. Political struggle, participating vigorously in the national democratic revolution now, is therefore the key link to the great cause of women's liberation. The Women's Liberation movement is basically a political struggle, with a revolutionary mass character. The political authority of foreign imperialism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism must be overthrown if Filipino women are to be liberated and achieve equality of the sexes

(Jose Ma. Sison "Message to Makibaka on the Women's Liberation Movement", in Struggle for National Democracy, Amado V. Hernandez Memorial Foundation, 1972 edition:

The New Filipina "Engaged in the Making of History" 

For many young women activists of the FQS, membership in MAKIBAKA and other youth organizations brought home the point raised by Jose Ma. Sison particularly the point that "political struggle, participating vigorously in the national democratic revolution now, is therefore the key link to the great cause of women's liberation." We experienced the liberating effects of political participation as we went beyond women's place and roles traditionally upheld in Philippine society. 

Ma. Lorena Barros, in "Liberated Women: II described the new Filipina emerging from her participation in the national struggle:

…The new woman, the new Filipina, is first and foremost a militant…

…The new Filipina is one who can stay whole days and nights with striking workers, learning from them the social realities which her bourgeois education has kept from her….. She is a woman who has discovered the exalting realm of responsibility, a woman fully engaged in the making of history…No longer is she a woman- for- marriage, but more and more a woman-for-action.

(Ma. Lorena Barros, "Liberated Women II"in Pugad Lawin, Taon 18 Blg 3, Enero-Pebrero 1971: 32

To be a militant meant embracing nationalism beyond the externals of wearing the barong tagalog or dancing the tinikling but embracing nationalism as the continuation of the historic struggle of our Filipino forefathers and foremothers for national independence. It meant studying and understanding the roots of the problems in Philippine society and choosing radical change as the means to resolve these problems. This meant participation in collective actions to bring about changes in Philippine society. ►►


Clearly, the woman militant, the new Filipina's ultimate destination was not as "ilaw ng tahanan", but as an equal of men in the struggle to end foreign and feudal exploitation and oppression. By opting to be part of the national democratic struggle, the women activists of the FQS of 1970 became, as Laurie put it, "engaged in the making of history". 

MAKIBAKA provided the woman's voice and viewpoint in the rallies and demonstrations from 1970 until the declaration of martial rule in September 1972. Members marched, acted as marshalls during demonstrations, painted steamers and wrote placards, operated the mimeograph machines, organized chapters, led mass meetings, joined workers' strikes and learned from the farmers. It began work with mothers in a number of urban poor communites in Manila and set up day care centers and conducted mother's classes on child care practices. It continued to articulate the progressive women's opposition to activities such as beauty contests and fashion shows that degrade women. 

Women activists also planned and held the first outdoor International Women's Day commemoration in the Philippines when it launched the Women's March Against Poverty on March 8, 1971. The only other commemoration in the Philippines recorded was the March 8, indoor forum in 1934 sponsored by the Liga ng Kababaihang Pilipina (source: ) 

Resurrecting the past to give it contemporary relevance was also an agenda of the militant women's movement. It was the Makibaka women in Iloilo who in 1972 prior to the declaration of martial rule, went to Pototan, the hometown of Teresa Magbanua, the Ilongga generala of the 1896 Revolution, and revived interest in the heroine to such a degree that the main street of the town was renamed after Henerala Isay1. 

The declaration of martial law in September 21, 1972 ended the growing open protest movement in the cities. Progressive organizations, including MAKIBAKA, were declared illegal and their members were arrested or went underground to participate in other forms of organizations and other forms of struggles. 


The existence of the pre-martial law MAKIBAKA was brief-only two and a half years since its founding in April 1970 to its illegalization in September 1972. But its impact on the women's movement in the Philippines continues to be felt. 

Reviews of the women's movement in the Philippines cannot but cite the significance of MAKIBAKA2. 

More importantly, its core message of women's liberation as inextricably linked with national and class liberation remains alive in the analysis and demands of the legal but militant women's movement in the Philippines represented by GABRIELA.

I would like to believe that MAKIBAKA's story as I am retelling it now will be something you, Filipino Canadian youth would "reflect on and give new form" as you yourselves become or are engaged in "making history." 



1 I was part of the group women activists who went to Pototan, Iloilo in 1972 and talked to the descendants of Henerala Isay. 

2 See for example Rosario del Rosario "Filipino Working Women 1913-1985" in The Filipino Woman in Focus, A Book of Readings, Amaryllis T. Torres (ed) UP Office of Research Coordination, UP Press, Quezon City, 1995 (2nd edition): 64, Aurora Javate de Dios, "Participation of Women's Groups in the Anti-Dictatorship Struggle: Genesis of a Movement" in Women's Role in Philippine History: Selected Essays, University Center for Women's Studies, University of the Philippines:Quezon City 1996 (2nd edition): 144-146, Aida Santos , Juliet de Lima 


Barros, Ma. Lorena. "Liberated Woman: I" in The Business Viewpoint, Sixth Issue, Vol. III, No. 2, 2nd semester 1970-71.UP College of Business Administration: 64-67 

Barros, Ma. Lorena. "Liberated Women II"in Pugad Lawin, Taon 18 Blg 3, Enero-Pebrero 1971: 32