By: Christine Megrino, Intern
DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Organizers of the “One Billion Rising,” a mass action campaign to end violence against women, pitched the OBR campaign to show support on the slated 3rd round of peace talks between the government and the communist group in Rome, Italy.
Led by Gabriela Women’s Party, the OBR called for women to stand for their rights and to rise against women’s oppression and exploitation.
Speaking at the Kapehan sa Dabaw in this city on Monday, Bai Ali Indayla, a nominee of Gabriela Women’s Partylist, said that OBR is an educational campaign for Filipino women to understand the importance of fighting for their rights.
“It was called one billion rising campaign because in every three women in the world, one of it becomes a victim of violence,” Indayla said.
Luzviminda Ilagan, former representative of Gabriela women’s party, also encouraged the people to support the entire movement to bring change on people’s perspective about violence not only to women.
This year’s OBR is set to kick-off sometime in February 2017. With the theme “Women Rise in support of the Peace Talks, Call for the Release of Political Prisoners, Defend IP Ancestral Domains and Struggle against Neo-Liberal Policies”, it links the struggle of women to the fight against global capitalist structures.
“In 2017, Filipino women dance and rise amid the backdrop of peace negotiations and amid progressive people’s and government assertion for sovereignty and independent foreign policy,” Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Emmi De Jesus said in a statement back in September last year.
“On the fifth year of the One Billion Rising Global campaign Filipino women are in a continuing revolution to attain Filipino women’s aspirations for land reform, the advancement of local industries and the delivery of basic social services, paving the way for social justice and lasting peace,” she added.
The OBR, according to Indayla, also called for the release of political prisoners.
“In the entire Philippines, there are 392 political prisoners and in Southern Mindanao, there are 83 and four of them are women), Indayla said, citing Amy Pond, a teacher in Salugpongan, who was arrested in Cebu last 2016.
“We all know that Lumad schools, students, communities and even teachers like Amy Pond are targets and victims of the attacks of government security forces,” she said.
Ilagan, on the other hand, said women trafficking is one of the causes of poverty among women.
“Those who have no work and who has a very low income most especially in provincial areas, they become victims of illegal recruitment and they end up in prostitution,” she said.
“If a peace agreement is signed, the conflict in the countryside will end. The people can experience peace. That’s why we need to support President Duterte because he is the only president whom I think is sincere about this,” Ilagan added.
Ilagan also said she expects there will be a lot of participants to the OBR.
The One Billion Rising campaign will showcase women from various sectors who will converge and dance as a protest against all forms of violence against women and children on their culmination at the Rizal Park, 1 p.m on February 14, this year. (With a report from Maria Patricia Borromeo)