FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 28, 2012

Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, gabrielawomen@gmail.com

Advancing the Philippine Women’s Struggle on Philippine Women’s Day of Protest 

Twenty-nine years ago, Filipina women took their struggle to the streets of Manila during the heightened political repression of the Marcos era. It was October 28, and the women marked it as the National Women’s Day of Protest to assert their collective power. Together with the masses of people, they eventually helped overthrow the dictatorial leadership of Ferdinand Marcos. Today, GABRIELA continues to commemorate October 28, and organizes women and communities to fight the unjust system of the Philippines, presently under President Benigno Aquino.

Under neo-liberal economic policies implemented by the Philippine government, the crisis in the Philippines continues to plunge the Filipino people into further economic hardship. President Aquino is currently attempting to sign the Philippines onto the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPAA), which would exponentially increase the subservience of the Philippines to the United States. Becoming a signatory would enable foreign businesses to gain 100% ownership of land and public utilities. With the deregulation and liberalization proposed by the TPPA, women and the rest of the Filipino people will have no relief from skyrocketing prices of basic commodities and utilities, burdening them to find a means of survival for themselves and their families.

In addition to economic hardship, Filipinos face mass dislocation, directly resulting from the plundering of the country’s natural resources by foreign corporations caused by unequal foreign policies and trade agreements with the U.S. The increased presence of foreign mining corporations in Mindanao has caused irreversible pollution and destruction to ancestral lands. The indigenous people, whose lives depend on this land, meet daily threats, overt violence, and repression by the Philippine military, who show total disregard for human life in order to protect business interests. On October 18, members of the Capion family of the B’laan tribe were massacred, including Juvy, who was two months pregnant, her two sons Jorge (13 years old), and Jan-Jan (7 years old), all at the hands of the AFP. Juvy’s daughter, Becky (5 years old), suffered gunshot wounds, while Juvy’s husband, Daguil, managed to escape the massacre, but both still face grave danger.

Juvy and Daguil, were members of Kalgad, a local indigenous organization that has taken a strong anti-mining stance, particularly against the large-scale mining of Xstrata’s Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI) that had targeted the rich gold and copper deposits in South Cotabato, Mindanao. Daguil had been targeted by the military for leading the B’laan tribe against the entry of Xstrata-SMI’s Tampakan mining project.

GABRIELA-USA condemns the Tampakan massacre. “We are outraged by the human rights violations that have been escalating in the Philippines due to the Philippine government’s irresponsible prioritization of the interests of foreign corporations over the livelihood of its own people, “ stated Raquel Redondiez, spokesperson of GABRIELA-USA. “Furthermore, the US government’s military pivot to Asia and the deployment of more US troops to the Philippines serves to train the Armed Forces of the Philippines, resulting in the harassment, abductions, and killings of those defending human rights and national sovereignty. We demand that not one cent of our tax-payer dollars go to fund these death squads and that US troops leave the Philippines now!”

GABRIELA continues to advance the struggle of women in the overall movement for national liberation and genuine democracy in the Philippines. As an overseas chapter of this movement, member organizations of GABRIELA USA continue the fighting legacy by opposing exploitative economic policies and human rights violations, and will be holding activities and events in solidarity with worldwide activities to commemorate the Philippine Women’s Day of Protest.

In honor of the National Women’s Day of Protest in the Philippines, GABRIELA-USA sponsors the following activities:

Los Angeles, CA

On October 28, Sisters of Gabriela Awaken! (SiGAW!) will participate in a Basic Organizer Training with the Filipino Migrant Center and will also host a domestic violence workshop with Kappa Psi Epsilon.

For more information contact: sigaw.la@gmail.com (213) 537-8278

San Francisco, CA 

On October 28, BABAE will hold an Educational Discussion on the National Women’s Movement in the Philippines from 1-3pm at 1710 Franklin St. in Oakland.

For more information contact: info@babaesf.org

Seattle, WA

On October 28, Pin@y sa Seattle will celebrate its 6 year anniversary and commemorate Philippine Women’s Day of protest in a celebration at the Gran Oriente (117 15th Ave.) in Seattle from 6:30-8:30pm. A few performances from their upcoming Diwang Pinay show will also be showcased. This event is open to the public and is a free event.

For more information contact: pinayinfo@gmail.com

New York, NY

On October 28, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) will launch a social media slide show.

For more information contact: fire.nyc@gmail.com

GABRIELA USA* is a grassroots-based alliance of progressive Filipino women’s organizations in the United States seeking to wage a struggle for the liberation of all oppressed Filipino women and the rest of our people. While we vigorously campaign on women-specific issues such as women’s rights, gender discrimination, violence against women and women’s health and reproductive rights, GABRIELA USA addresses national and international economic and political issues that affects Filipino women.

GABRIELA USA is an overseas chapter of GABRIELA Philippines, and is a member organization of BAYAN USA.

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