“The BS Aquino regime is a bane to poor Filipino women. His presidency has made lives harder and more dangerous for women, especially those who speak out against rights violations and his anti-poor policies,” said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general and Tanggol Bayi convenor, on the commemoration of International Women’s Day.
Palabay said that “despite the Aquino government’s much-ballyhooed declarations on economic growth under his presidency and on the promotion of equality by his administration, the joblessness rate among women remains high at 35.9% of the labor force, according to the December 2013 survey of the Social Weather Station.” These figures, she said, may be higher because many of the unpaid and family workers are women.
“The Public-Private Partnership program has resulted to forced evictions of poor women and their families from the urban poor communities where such projects were implemented. Poor women also bear the brunt of poverty, as the number of families experiencing hunger in the past years under Aquino has risen,” she added.
Kiri Dalena, co-convenor of Tanggol Bayi said, “as more women are faced with escalating problems, they are also the first to rise to defend their rights, their families’ and their communities’ interests. The Aquino regime seems to be threatened by the poor Filipinas’ defense of their rights, that it has made women human rights defenders targets of state repression.”
Dalena said “18 women activists, most of them human rights defenders, have been killed under the Aquino administration. The loss of these women who have valiantly struggled for genuine pro-people change is unforgiveable.”
Among those killed by state security forces were Cristina Jose, a village councilor and leader of typhoon survivors in Davao Oriental, on 4 March 2013; and Juvy Capion, an anti-mining activist who was massacred in October 2013 together with her two children.
Palabay and Dalena also scored the Aquino administration for its recent appointment of police general Lina Sarmiento as the chairperson of the Martial law victims claims board.
“The appointment of Sarmiento to a top government post is NOT an achievement for Filipino women. It is a grave insult that is tantamount to a slap on the faces of thousands of Filipino women who suffered during the Marcos dictatorship. Aquino successfully proves how he overwhelmingly underestimates our capacity to see through this cheap and superficial shot at women empowerment,” they concluded.
Karapatan secretary general
and Tanggol Bayi convenor
Tanggol Bayi convenor
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KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.