Women showed their rage to Duterte in an effigy they called as “Mad Dog-ong.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA — Thousands of women from all sectors and across all ages once again showed their strength as progressive women’s group Gabriela led the commemoration of international women’s day on March 8.
They vowed to frustrate President Duterte’s dictatorship, which they described as “the most violent, misogynistic and rabid puppet for pro-foreign investments” President in Philippine history.
Women showed their rage to Duterte in an effigy they called as “Mad Dog-ong.” The effigy depicts Duterte’s frequent attacks against his critiques and women. Gabriela described Mad Dog-ong as “a hybrid beast with predatory head and mouth mounted on a dragon-like body adorned with military fatigue.”
“Women are on the war path against Mad Dog-ong, the mad bloody puppet of the United States and Chinese economic interests, that cause poverty and dislocation of poor women who lose their homes, jobs and incomes to the blood-sucking attacks of tax reforms, privatized shelter programs, and continued labor contractualization,” said Gabriela secretary general Joms Salvador.
The women together with the men gathered at Liwasang Bonifacio and marched their way to Chino Roces bridge (formerly Mendiola bridge) near the Malacañang Palace where their call: “Duterte macho, pasista! Biguin, biguin and diktadura! (Duterte macho, fascist! Frustrate, frustrate the dictatorship!)” echoed.
Deteriorating life conditions under Duterte
The group lamented that the promise of change under the Duterte regime did not come for the majority of the people but only for the few.
“As the Duterte government maintains the neoliberal policy of his predecessors, joblessness continues to rise. Unemployed men and women reached 2.44 million in 2017,” Center for Women’s Resources (CWR) said in a statement.
Alliance of Concerned Teachers-National Capital Region Union (ACT-NCR) president Joselyn Martinez assailed the big increase in the salaries of the police and the military leaving the rest of the government employees far behind. Former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo also cited the massive contractualization in the government sector.
Also this March 8 is the first year since the urban poor’s occupation of idle housing units in Pandi Bulacan. “Salute to all urban poor who successfully occupied idle housing units in Pandi, Bulacan,” Gloria “Ka Bea” Arellano adding that many of those who led the occupation were women.
Arellano slammed Duterte’s broken promise to give the idle housing units in Pandi to Kadamay members. She said that after a year, nothing has happened despite all the negotiations that were held between their organization and the National Housing Authority.
“We have succeeded and now the government wants to take it from us. We will not allow it,” she said.
She also called on homeless families to join the occupation movement and fight for their right for decent housing.
Meanwhile, the delegation from Pandi going to the protest was blocked by the police. At least 28 jeepneys with Kadamay members were barred by the police from joining the protest in Manila. Nails were thrown at tires and drivers’ licenses’ were confiscated. But some of their members were still able to attend the protest.
The groups also hit what they described as the burdensome implementation of the first package of the Tax Reformation for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) law, which only resulted to the increase of prices of basic commodities.
‘Maneuvering towards dictatorship’
Carol Araullo, chairperson of Bagong Alayansang Makabayan (Bayan) also criticized Duterte’s attacks on women. She described Duterte as someone who has a dirty mouth with a rotten and backward mind. She likened Duterte to an abusive husband who abused his wife but comforts her afterwards to maintain the abusive relationship. She said also said that Duterte has distorted the meaning of “Tatay” (father), someone who should serve as a guide, to someone who wanted to become the “master.”
She said this is how Duterte maneuvers to eventually declare a dictatorship. She cited the signs such as the increase in the salaries of uniformed personnel and attacks against the Supreme Court Chief Justice, the Ombudsman and other Constitutional Commissions.
Ronalyn Olea of Let’s Organize for Democracy and Integrity (LODI) also criticized the attacks against the mass media.
“Our history proved that those who suppress the truth are frightened of the people,” she said citing the closing of media outfits during Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s martial law and other regime’s attacks against the press.
‘Strengthen our ranks to frustrate Duterte dictatorship’
Kabataan Partylist Representative Sarah Elago said in a statement that with a president like Duterte who “blurts out excessive expletives but remains silent in the face of foreign aggression, emboldens military and uniformed personnel and his cohorts to commit human rights violations, and stops at nothing to gain full control of all branches and instrumentalities of government to solidify his fascist rule, it has never been more imperative for the people to unite in one call to frustrate a looming dictatorship.
She added that a “leader who promotes macho-fascism and misogyny has no place not only in government but also in society.
Salvador paid tribute to the women martyrs who fought for genuine change including Duterte’s mother, Soladad Duterte who stood against the Marcos dictatorship.
She added that women are not and will never be discouraged by Duterte and will continue to fight for the people’s basic rights – right to decent wages, land, social services among other. Together with the people, they vowed to frustrate Duterte’s dictatorship.