'Abante babae:' Thousands march to uphold women's rights
MANILA, Philippines — Wearing white, pink, and purple, thousands of women activists, youth organizations, workers, and various sectors paraded from Liwasang Bonifacio to Mendiola in commemoration of International Women's Day on Thursday, March 8.
The female advocates protested several issues involving women's rights, contractualization, abuses and killings.
A modern-day Gabriela Silang started the movement in front of Department of Labor and Employment's office in Intramuros and demanded to end contractualization in the Philippines. (READ: Ending contractualization needs 2 urgent actions from Duterte)
They also condemned the misogynistic acts of President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies.
Joms Salvador, Secretary General of Gabriela Alliance of Women, said that Duterte might have forgotten the importance of women.
"Kung iniisip mo na hinugot mo sa tadyang ang kababaihan, nagkakamali ka. Dahil ikaw ay isinilang sa mundong ito mula sa sinapupunan ng kababaihan, kung meron kang dapat galangin walang iba kundi ang kababaihan!"
(If you thought that women came from men's rib, you are wrong. Because you came intto this world from the womb of a woman. If there's someone that you should respect, it should be these women.)
Duterte made several rape jokes in the past – a habit which Malacañang has downplayed by claiming that the "masses get him." He also joked about luring tourists to the Philippines using "42 virgins." (READ: From 'fragrant' Filipinas to shooting vaginas: Duterte's top 6 sexist remarks)
These remarks contradict Duterte's vow to "fight for the rights of women and children".
In an interview, Emmi de Jesus, representative of Gabriela Partylist in the congress told Rappler that mass movement should be done often to raise awareness to the public.
"Tuloy tuloy lang ang programa. Sa loob ng kongreso yung mga issue na sinusulong ay rights and welfare for women and basic sectors, pero naniniwala ako na ituloy talaga ang organizing sa labas, kasi ang mas makakapagpasya naman ay yung movement ng masa sa labas ng kongreso" said de Jesus.
(In the congress, we'll continue to raise issues like rights and welfare for women and basic sectors. But I believe that organizing mass movements on the street should be done because those who can really decide are the movements of the masses outside Congress)
She added, "Dapat ang babae sa lipunang ito ay kilalanin natin, ang pinakamalaking ambag natin ay maging bahagi ng produksyon, maging bahagi ng kilusan para sa pagbabago, maging bahagi ng militanteng galaw ng mamamayan at huwag tayong pumayag na ipagpatuloy ng kasalukuyang sistema ang mababang pagtingin sa kababaihan."
(Women should be treated right in the society. The biggest contribution of the public is to be part of the movement for change, and to continue to fight the abuses on women)
According to Anakbayan national secretary general Einstein Recedes, they are lining up the next activity on March 23, in remembering the calvary of Jesus Christ on the cross, as the agony of the workers in the current administraiton.
Here are some photos of the activities in Liwasang Bonifacio and Mendiola:
Several student artists, activists and poets also joined the nationwide protest in their respective provinces. Below are some of their posts online: