Gabriela Women’s Party today joined thousands who took to the streets, challenging president Duterte to take huge strides in fulfilling campaign promises that will benefit the poor and marginalized and reverse anti-poor and anti-people policy pronouncements that taints his administration’s human rights record.
“It has been one year and while we are largely dismayed, we remain confident that as more and more women from the marginalized sections are standing up to assert the call for meaningful and substantial change, the Duterte government shall be compelled to heed the people’s just demands. Women want change and women shall fight for the change that we want. Kailangan nating igiit ang pagbabagong hangad ng taumbayan,” said Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) Rep. Arlene Brosas.
The partylist group gave its assessment of Duterte’s first year in office using a variety of emojis ranging from “angry” for DOLE Department Order 174 which legalized agency-hired contractuals; “beast mode” for the militarized bureaucracy and the Martial Law declaration to “happy” for initiatives to pursue peace negotiations.
A “smile” showed the women’s group’s reaction to President Duterte’s commmitment for free land distribution while an “injured” emoji depicted the dismay at the continuing privatization of healthcare and other social services. A “vomiting” emoji showed the women’s disgust at the President’s rape jokes and sexist comments. The emoji “rolling eyes” demonstrated skepticism at the declaration of an independent foreign policy.
Brosas explained that while they appreciated Duterte’s bravado in exposing atrocities perpetrated by US soldiers in the Philippines and his declaration of an independent foreign policy they found its actual implementation sorely disappointing.
“We fear that in allowing the continuation of Balikatan exercises and the entry of more US soldiers in war-torn Mindanao, the declaration is slowly being reduced to mere lip-service. We continue to await the promised abrogation of lopsided military agreements including the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement,” she said.
The lawmaker added that a promised independent foreign policy must also come with pursuing an economic agenda that will develop local industries and free from trade policy impositions from corporate interests. “Duterte should soon abandon the neoliberal framework that Philippine presidents have adhered to and that which has pushed women further to poverty and immense vulnerability to violence.”
Gabriela Women’s Party said that as Duterte enters his second year in office, they will continue to decisively push for the Women’s Agenda for Change: [C] Comprehensive social services, [H] Human Rights and social justice, [A] Anti-discrimination and anti-violence on women and children, [N] National Sovereignty, [G] Genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization and [E] Environmental protection. #