Filipino women take #BabaeAko movement from social media to the streets

Filipino women take #BabaeAko movement from social media to the streets

Angie de Silva

'Women are a force to contend with and Duterte should be careful lest he bear the brunt of their force unleashed,' says Joms Salvador of Gabriela

MANILA, Philippines – What was once a social media campaign-only movement, became “alive” when Filipino women and other groups took to the streets the call to end sexism and misogyny in the Philippines, on Tuesday, June 12.

Led by a loose group of Filipino women activists and leaders, #BabaeAko is a social media campaign that came in the wake of the President’s statement that the next Ombudsman should “not be a woman”. Launched in late May, the campaign aims to condemn the misogynistic behavior of Duterte and some of the members of his administration. 

Not the typical rally characterized by loud chants, the Filipino women who marched from Luneta Park to Liwasang Bonifacio on Independence Day made a statement against misogyny and sexism through the tarpaulin artworks showcasing the plight of women under Duterte’s presidency.

They called on the resignation of Duterte, with women militant group Gabriela’s secretary general Joms Salvador asking him to “make good on his promise.”

“Duterte should make good his promise to resign should women protest this so-called “no-malice kiss”.  Here we are marching in protest and many others are taking the social media, and we dare him to make good on his pronouncement,” said Salvador.

The #BabaeAko march is part of the #HINDIpendence day protest activities organized by opposition groups against the administration.

One of those who joined the #BabaeAko march was social critic Mae Paner, more popularly known as  “Juana Change”.

In her speech at Liwasang Bonifacio, Paner symbolically dressed as a pregnant woman hinted at the importance of motherhood and women in the country’s future.

Kung kailan ako naging  singkwenta, tsaka ako nabuntis, alam niyo ito ang unang-una kong anak eh, alam niyo ba, may pangalan na ang iluluwal kong ito, at babae ang iluluwal ko, ang kanyang palayaw Kina, alam niyo kung bakit Kina? Kasi ang buong pangalan ng aking anak ay Kinabukasan, okay ba kayo? Iluluwal ko ang kinabukasan,” she said.

(After all this time, when i reached 50, that’s when i got pregnant, you know, this is my first-born, and this child that I will bear is a girl; her nickname is “Kina”. Do you know why “Kina”? Because her whole name is ‘Kinabukasan’ [future]. I will give birth to the future.)

The campaign reached its peak again after Duterte kissed a female overseas Filipino worker (OFW) during his 3-day visit to South Korea. Prominent personalities put to the internet the fight against misogynism and sexism including former social welfare secretary Judy Taguiwalo, journalist Kara David, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, and actress Agot Isidro.

“Duterte should learn from history. Many of those who joined the revolution and fought for Philippine independence are women. Women are a force to contend with and Duterte should be careful lest he bear the brunt of their force unleashed,” Salvador added.

Below are some photos from the #BabaeAko march: 

FILIPINO WOMEN. Women's group Gabriela joins the #BabaeAko march on Tuesday, June 12. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

CREATIVE PROTEST. Different from the typical rallies characterized by loud chants, Filipino women use artwork to protest against Duterte's misogyny and sexism. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

MOTHERHOOD. Mae Paner, more popularly known as Juana Change, joins the #BabaeAko march from Luneta to Liwasang Bonifacio on Tuesday, June 12. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

HINDIPENDENCE. The #BabaeAko march is part of the #HINDIpendence day protest activities organized by opposition groups against the Duterte administration. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

 – Rappler.com 

 Kenneth Leonardo is a Rappler Intern. He is currently taking up BA Journalism at the University of the Philippines-Diliman

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