Women activists to Marcos: provide jobs, lower prices, not cha-cha

Mar. 11, 2024
Photo by Kath Cortez/davaotoday.com

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – For working women and mothers, the Marcos Jr. presidency should provide jobs, decent wages, and lower prices of commodities to address economic woes and not tinker with the Constitution.

This was the message of the women’s group Gabriela during the 114th International Women’s Day on March 8, as its chapters held rallies in various cities including Davao City at Freedom Park.

The rally in Davao City carried the theme “Panginabuhian, katungod, kaugalingnan, dili Charter Change o ChaCha sa rehimeng US-Marcos Jr” (Jobs, rights, independence, not charter change of the US-Marcos Jr regime), where groups assert for “livable wages, decent jobs, lower prices of basic commodities.”

GABRIELA-Southern Mindanao Secretary General Rose Hayahay said that two years into the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos Jr., he has not fulfilled his promises to help Filipino families.

One particular promise Marcos Jr. made was to lower the price of rice to twenty pesos per kilo, as prices have risen to 50 pesos or more in the past few months.

“Sa kasamtangan, daghan kaayo ang ginasagubang nga krisis ang kababayen-an ug katawhan – sangko-langit nga pagtaas sa presyo sa palaliton, ubos nga sweldo, kontraktwalisasyon sa pamuo, kagutom, ug pagkaguba sa kinaiyahan (As of now, women and men have faced a lot of crises – prices have risen sky-high, salaries remain low, there’s contractualization, hunger and destruction of the environment),” said Hayahay.

Hayahay said Gabriela and other groups oppose proposals by Marcos and his allies on Congress to amend economic provisions of the Constitution, which will allow foreign ownership of local resources and businesses.

“They want to push for unlimited entry of big foreign corporations here in the Philippines, to allow them to possess land and resources. Cha-cha is selling out our country to foreign capitalists. What will remain for us now,” Hayahay said.

In the rally led by Gabriela in Manila, the group’s secretary general Clarice Palce said “Granting 100% foreign ownership in the country is not the remedy for the pressing issues afflicting the nation, such as rampant corruption, the absence of national industries, limited access to education, and low wages.”

“Despite allocating meager budgets to basic social services and neglecting our local industries, the government has the audacity to downplay its shortcomings, attributing them to certain restrictions in the Constitution. However, in reality, the root cause lies in their own greed and disregard for the needs of the Filipino people,” she added.

Youth activists in Davao also paid tribute to women leaders of Mindanao who have passed away such as the Talaingod chieftain Bai Bibiyaon Ligkayan Bigkay who fought for ancestral rights and Lumad schools, and youth activist and writer Benjaline Hernandez.

Other allied groups such as Transmision Piston reiterate their call to stop the Public Utility Modernization Program as it affects the livelihood of drivers who have families to support and children to send to school. (davaotoday.com)

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