Women’s group Gabriela led the Philippine celebration of the annual One Billion Rising (OBR) global movement against violence against women (VAW) at the Remedios Circle in Manila in time for Valentine’s Day. Women activists called to end exploitation of women amid the ‘grave disrespect of President Duterte to Filipino women.’
Monique Wilson, global director of the One Billion Rising 2018 lashed out at Duterte’s “shoot her in the vagina” remark and order to the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“Shoot her in the vagina, Tell the soldiers, ‘There’s a new order coming from mayor. We won’t kill you. We will just shoot your vagina’,” Duterte said while he was hosting more than 200 former rebels at the Malacañang Palace on February 7.
Before this remark, Duterte asked in Bisaya if the women members of the revolutionary group New People’s Army are holding guns and was answered that they “fight like Amazons.”
Gabriela also dismembered the effigy of the president showing loop off tongues to depict “Duterte’s habitual sexist tirades against women.”
“Women here and abroad are totally disgusted at this latest sick attack on women who oppose his policies. This only confirms he is a sexist and fascist dictator who does not deserve the respected position of a President,” Joms Salvador, Gabriela secretary-general said.
Salvador added, “We recall how he kept making misogynist policy pronouncements about raping women to punish them from perceived offenses or offering them either as combat spoils for marauding soldiers or as enticement for tourist visits.”
“Angry vaginas” danced against Duterte’s anti-people policies
The OBR event, also known as a flash mob, was participated by students, urban poor and women workers from all over Metro Manila.
Former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, artist Mae Paner, poet Maningning Vilog, Gabriela Women’s Partylist representatives Emmi de Jesus and Arlene Brosas, ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro, Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago and Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Ariel Casilao joined the OBR event in Manila.
According to the organizers, the annual OBR protests are held in many cities across the country “to hold Duterte accountable for the prolonged martial law in Mindanao, armed attacks on indigenous children and the rapid fall of incomes and jobs after the government’s implementation of the unpopular tax reforms that sent prices of good rise up.”
Filipino migrant women also danced in plazas across North America, Europe and Asia to score the president for sabotaging peace talks with revolutionary groups, while also taking aim at US President Donald Trump’s “similar sexist and warmongering governance style.”
Meanwhile, child rights advocates group Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns raised the issue of the Dengvaxia fiasco in today’s OBR activity. The group said that the anomalous purchase of the anti-Dengue vaccine and the ‘profit-oriented’ healthcare system “are indicators of a failed preventive health care program of the Health Department.”
Eule Rico Bonganay, Secretary General of Salinlahi, said, “While the administration and the opposition point fingers at each other, hundreds of thousands of children remain in danger. One of the best ways to show our love to children and their parents is to help them understand the issue, seek accountability from the government and enjoin them as we rise for free public health care.”
Bonganay continued, “As long as the public health care system is commercialized, public officials and foreign pharmaceutical companies like Sanofi [Pasteur] will continue to connive in advancing their own interest instead of public welfare.”
Gabriela and OBR 2018 organizers said that the protest has mobilized hundreds of schools, local governments and civil society alliances in the broad movement to end violence and exploitation of women and children since its launch in the Philippines in 2013,
With this year’s theme #RiseResistUnite, Gabriela elevated the calls to not only addressing VAW as a symptom but as one of the social ills “engendered by neoliberal economic policies of global monopolies and local tyrannical puppets.”
The group also announced that the OBR event today served as a prequel to a much bigger people’s protest against Duterte’s ‘macho-fascist dictatorship’ to be led by women on March 8 in time for the International Working Women’s Day.