By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA — Now on its seventh year, Filipino women’s rights advocates once again took the streets of Manila to dance and protest the misogyny and rising tyranny in the country.
“We gather today, not just to dance as part of the successful OBR (One Billion Rising) global campaign to raise awareness and to stop violence against women, but also to show solidarity with women from all around the world who, in their own country are rising and raging against all forms of violence, especially those perpetrated by the state,” said Joms Salvador, women’s group Gabriela secretary general.
One Billion Rising (OBR) is an annual event that aims to raise awareness and rise above the exploitation and assaults to women and their rights.
President Rodrigo Duterte continues to be unpopular women’s rights advocates with his rape jokes and other misogynistic statements. In her solidarity speech today at the Rajah Sulayman Park, nun and rights advocate Sr. Mary John Mananzan said she has had enough of this “vulgar” and “bad-mouthed” president.
This week, several schools and organizations “rose” to drumbeat today’s gathering. Among those who earlier “rose” as part of the OBR campaign are church people led by the Ecumenical Women’s Forum and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines.
“As women of faith, we will continue to affirm life by defending it, crying and calling out the many attacks that are being experienced by our people. We do it by shaking (resisting) the systemic curtailment of the rights of the women, and the rest of the poor majority. This is our solidarious act to the most vulnerable sectors of our communities,” said Minnie Anne Mata-Calub, NCCP acting general secretary.
Rape cases, attacks vs. people’s rights
In a statement, Center for Women’s Resources said the attacks against women have not only continued but has also worsened.
According to the think-tank, 20 women are being raped per day, citing police reports from January to May 2018 with 2,962 cases of rape in the country.
They also noted that 45 of the 540 political prisoners are women.
“We condemn the audacity of this government to commit these grave abuses and get away unpunished. The culture of impunity has transformed into its worst form under this administration as the rich and powerful continue to get away with plunder, murder, and corruption,” the CWR said in a statement.
Manila bay reclamation
The OBR also assailed the planned rehabilitation and reclamation of the Manila Bay, concluding the program with a human chain along Roxas Boulevard.
Many grassroots and environmental organizations have been calling out the government for its impact on the environment and the displacement of urban poor families.
Salvador said these policies are masked as ‘development projects’ to deceive people into agreement and to vilify those who oppose such projects. She said that many studies conducted by experts conclude that such ‘developmental projects’ do not actually benefit the people and the environment.