March 7, 2011
DAVAO CITY – One question for the President: Where’s the ‘Matuwid na Daan?’. This as more than a thousand women are set to join on the centennial commemoration of the International Working Women’s Day led by militant and progressive women’s organization, GABRIELA, in the city on March 8.
According to Lyda Canson, Chairperson Emeritus of GABRIELA, “More than nine months as President, we know nothing significant has been done by the Aquino government to alleviate the situation of the half of the population – our women.”
“Well, even in his State of the Nation Address last year, no agenda for women was mentioned, not a single line,” she added.
“Grabe gyud ang kalisud sa kababayen-an karong tuiga daw sunod-sunod nga kalamidad ang nitama sa amoa, gutom, taas ang presyo sa palaliton, taas ang pliti, unya wa mi ibayad kay wa mi trabaho kung naa man di pud paigo,” Cora Espinoza, Vice Chairperson of GABRIELA and head of the urban-poor women’s organization SAMAKANA.
Espinoza added that women in the city are even facing threats of demolition. “Wa na gyud lain paadtoan ang mga kababayen-an kundili ang musukol,” Espinoza said.
“Sa isyu sa rape ug pagpandagmal sa kababayen-an, wala gihapon nahimo nga mahinungdanong lakang ang gubyerno. Sa balita madungog nato ang nagkadaghang kaso sa rape. Wala pud malantawan nga hustisya ang biktima tungod sa paghandle sa mga kaso mas paboran pa ang suspetsado kaysa sa biktima,” Espinoza added.
Gabriela also brought up the issue of using women and branding children as child combatants in the government’s counter-insurgency “Oplan Bayanihan.”
GABRIELA pointed the cases of Amanda and Mimi who were tagged as child soldiers by the 10th Infantry Division of the AFP.
“Sa pagsuroy-suroy sa military dira sa komunidad nga daw mga pastol nga nay maayong pamatasan, ang ila lang interes mailhan kinsa miyembro sa Gabriela, Samakana, o uban pang mga progresibong Partylist ug dayon ilang hasion,” Espinoza said.
Espinoza cited incidents of harrasments perpetrated by the elements of the AFP in various areas particularly in the third district, this city.
“Way kalooy ning gubyerno, hasta babae ug bata dili luwas sa ilang kamangtas. Among padayong panawagan nga papahawaon ang mga military sa komunidad kay mabiktima gyud sa paglapas sa tawhanong katungod ang mga sibilyan labi na mga babae ug bata,” she added.
GABRIELA, Gabriela Women’s Partylist together with the March 8 Convenors will lead a women’s parade and cultural program in the afternoon tomorrow. The first International Toiling Women’s Day was proclaimed in 1911, to mark the role of the women in the industrial revolution and celebrate the gains of the women who marched to the streets to fight for their rights and welfare.
“We are expecting more than one thousand delegates coming from various women’s organizations in the city. And this year, maniningil kami sa Presidente ng mga pangako. Nasaan na ang matuwid na daan?” Canson said.
“We would like to remind P-Noy that we are his boss and that he should follow our demands,” Canson said.
The 10 demands for P-Noy that the group highlighted are: government intervention to lower prices of food, utilities and services; increase in minimum wages; comprehensive reproductive health services; saving overseas Filipino workers in danger situations; distribution of Aquino-owned Hacienda Luisita to tenant-farmers; cessation of demolition of urban poor communities; release of all political prisoners and prosecution of former president Gloria Arroyo and her cohorts; an end to violence against women and children; and promotion of the rights and welfare of children.
“If the people are his true boss, he should act now or else he’ll be fired,” Canson said.