DAVAO CITY, Philippines – In President Rodrigo Duterte’s hometown and in time with the celebration of International Women’s Day on Friday, women rights advocates unite for a call to end the ‘macho fascist government’ of Duterte.
The call which was incorporated in a protest action was led by Gabriela Women’s Party list (GWP).
The activity also became a venue where various groups expressed their dismay over attacks against women, a situation they described as worsening “because of Duterte’s pronouncements against women”.
Duterte has been criticized with his previous statements against women which GWP leaders regard as a sign of disgusting aspects of machismo that disrespect women.
They cited instances when Duterte openly declared he would not appoint a woman as Chief Justice and his infamous command to state forces to shoot women NPA’s (New People’s Army) in the vagina.
The group also took note of the many instances when Duterte made jokes on rape and the instance when he kissed a woman in front of the public in one of his trips abroad.
The cases presented are only the “shallow part” of the continuing attacks against women under the administration of Duterte, GWP 2nd nominee Bail Ali Indayla said.
Women, Indayla added, have been the subject of societal struggle every day.
In Southern Mindanao, Indayla said indigenous women and their families have remained helpless in evacuation centers as the implementation of martial law in Mindanao continues.
“Hundreds of indigenous women became the direct victim of forcible evacuations, harassments, and threats due to the strong implementation of the anti-insurgency campaign of this administration. Women and their children became vulnerable targets of force surrender even if they are neither members nor supporters of the Communist Party and the New People’s Army in their community” Indayla said.
She also cited data from the human rights group Karapatan showing the alarming increase of cases of women being targets of attacks.
“Since the start of Duterte administration up to the present, of the 94 recorded political killings in the region, 13 of the victims were women. Five out 106 political prisoners in the area are women,” Indayla added.
Jing Lopez, secretary of NAMASUFA-NAFLU-KMU in Compostela Valley has been a target of series of harassments after their union launched a strike in October last year.
Lopez who is a contractual worker for nine years at Packing Plant 115 of in the banana plantation of Sumifru Philippines was tagged as an NPA supporter because of her participation in the worker’s union.
“Until now, workers are being harassed. A certain Sgt. Joel Bargas sent a text message to my husband asking for my whereabouts, while our barangay chairman is also continuously asking about me” Lopez said.
She added that out of 931 union members in their company, 540 are women who continue to remain as contractual workers and targets for force surrender in the province of Compostela Valley.
Many of the union members are workers of Sumifru for more than ten years but remain contractual workers despite the pronouncement of Duterte to end the contractualization in the country.
In the midst of the continuing poor situation of women in the country, Indayla challenged the public to stand against the misogyny of the president.
Malacañang has released a message of Duterte stating: “It is our collective responsibility to ensure that our women are able to pursue their dreams and participate in addressing the challenges of our times. Together, let us optimize the potential of every Filipina as we realize a more inclusive nation rooted in justice and equal opportunity.”
The president also asked the public to join him “in advocating for the rights of women not only today but every day.”
Indayla, for her part, said it would be a challenge for Duterte to stand on his words and respect women’s right.
“The issue of women’s right is an issue of people’s rights. If the president and this administration does respect nor follow the rule of law, then we will have a ‘macho fascist government’ who will continue to attack women and its people,” Indayla said. (davaotoday.com)