On Valentines’ day, thousands of women took to the streets and danced in calling for a stop to the Duterte administration’s declaration of an all out war and in prodding the Duterte administration to return to the negotiation table with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
“President Duterte’s emotional rant abruptly terminating negotiations and the declaration of an all-out war has unleashed a monster of human rights violations, killings of activists and illegal arrests,” said Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Emmi De Jesus.
The Gabriela solon lamented that since February 3, military operations in communities deemed by the AFP as strongholds of the New People’s Army including aerial bombings affecting civilian homes and tribal school in Alabel, Saranggani Province which has resulted to massive evacuations. Two tribal leaders and anti-mining activists in Bukidnon and another in Compostela Valley were also summarily executed last February 3 and 6 respectively.
The women’s group likewise denounced the illegal arrest of JASIG-protected consultant Ariel Arbitrario of the NDFP, activists and NGO workers including two women development workers, Rogina Navarro Quilop of the Center for People’s Resources and Services last February 7 in Bacolod City and Sarah Abellon Alikes, board member of the Regional Development Center-Kattinulong Dagiti Umili Ti Amianan with two others last February 9 in Baguio City.
Last February 12, Bayan Metro Manila Campaign Officer Ferdinand Castillo was illegally detained and tortured afer being arrested in Caloocan for trumped up charges of attempted murder.
Dancing erupted in various cities all-over Metro Manila and key cities nationwide as part of the global One Billion Rising campaign to end exploitation and for solidarity. In the Philippines, risings highlighted the call for land, jobs, social justice and peace.
“Women and children suffer most with the intensified military operations brought about by the declaration of an all-out war and this cannot continue. It is our hope that the Duterte administration puts the interests of marginalized communities and help attain social justice by continuing with the peace talks instead of all out military offensive" said Gabriela colleague Arlene Brosas.
"Women join the peoples’ demand for the continuation of peace talks to address the root causes of the armed conflict and move forward in discussing socio-economic and political reforms where women's rights and welfare is ensured," Brosas added.
Risings and protests will continue as women amplify their calls towards the commemoration of International Women’s Day on March 8. #