GWP urged the government to immediately conduct “determined investigation that must resolve and prosecute culprits and masterminds of this most dreadful act of violence especially to women, lawyers and media” people. The probe must be fair and impartial considering that the primary suspect, Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., son of Maguindanao governor Andal Sr., is a known staunch ally of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“Gangsterism and warlordism all over the country, that have caused such gruesome and barbaric acts toward our brothers and sisters in Maguindanao, must end in the soonest possible time if we do not want to witness more violence as the election fever further heats up,” said Sheila Azucena-Ferrer, third nominee and national capital region secretary-general of GWP.
GWP repeatedly issued such statements as they toured around cities and municipalities of Metro Manila a day after the massacre. After their programs at various intersections of the region, GWP ended their day-long activities with protests before the Department of National Defense.
Women Most Vulnerable to Violence
GWP stressed that for the longest time, women were the most to suffer violence, abuse and exploitation. “Aside from the state-initiated brutality against women, GWP said the rising number of gender-based violence has also become “alarming” as data showed a sharp rise of cases of sexual and domestic abuses.
Based on Gabriela’s documentation, a woman is being battered in the Philippines almost every two hours, a child every one hour and a half. Every seven hours and thirty minutes, a woman is being raped; a girl-child every two hours. Gabriela also said a woman is sexually harassed almost every 19 hours while every nine hours, a sexually harassed child is being reported.
“These should serve as eye-opener to the Arroyo administration and to her successors as well to strictly implement all existing laws for our women,” Ferrer said. Five years of Republic Act 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Law have so far “failed to address and resolve abuses of women and children,” said Gabriela.
Indeed, aside from the widely being deplored Ampatuan massacre that victimized and brutally mutilated women particularly, during the five years when RA 9262 is already in force, the Philippines even recorded a sharp rise in complaints and known violence against women, as well as in recording more “celebrated cases” such as the case of Chavit Singson against his former live-in partner Che Tiongson, the Hayden Kho sex video scandals, the gruesome murder of Ruby Rose Barrameda, not to mention the rape cases of Filipinas by visiting US troops.
In all Gabriela activities to mark the International Day of Eliminating Violence Against Women, the group discouraged all contending politicians from resorting to violence in the coming elections. Gabriela also repeatedly urged all 2010 hopefuls to “bare their platforms on how they can safeguard and protect the basic human rights of our women so that women will no longer have to face violence.”