Women’s groups today blocked traffic at the corner of Tobias and Timog streets to express resistance to neo-fascism. Dubbing the action as “Women Resist the Neo-Fascists,” the leaders of around eighty (80) women stated that the action is to dramatize how they are already being gagged and forced to hide their identities when speaking out against Mayor Rodrigo Duterte or Senator Bongbong Marcos, who are running for presidency and vice-presidency respectively.
Jean Enriquez of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women- Asia Pacific (CATW-AP) and the World March of Women (WMW) expressed how her organization and that of others are being harassed after filing a complaint against Mayor Duterte at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR). CATW-AP, WMW, Lilak (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights and Sentro are among the organizations who charged the leading presidential candidate based on the Magna Carta of Women. “Many of us fought the Marcos dictatorship since we were young, and we cannot bear to see the return of a repressive regime, which includes Bongbong, who even continues to deny the human rights violations and the plunder committed during the Marcos era,” Enriquez said.
“Women’s issues are national issues, Duterte’s sexism and machismo are solid building blocks of a government that tolerates, perpetuates, if not initiates violence against women,” according to Judy Pasimio of Lilak. She added that this is a serious issue not just for women, but should be of everyone. “So we are here to prevent, and to resist, the coming into power of a Duterte presidency,” Pasimio added.
Chang Jordan of the Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau (WLB) stated that, “We say no to a leadership that embodies and reinforces a patriarchal and sexist culture. We say no to those that render and dismiss women as secondary and insignificant. We say no to those who sneer and laugh at women’s pains and struggles.” She said that they call out the discriminatory and sexist remarks of Duterte, a man who threatens to kill those who oppose him. “We also denounce Marcos and his family’s record of human rights abuses. We demand justice for all women whose rights have been violated. Let us all stand together against the harm they have brought to women. Let us all together demand for accountability. Let us all together work for genuine and transformative change, for the lives of marginalized women and our communities.”
Joanna Bernice S. Coronacion of Sentro said that workers join the action because Mayor Duterte cannot represent the masses with his disparaging of women, persons with disability, and threat to workers’ rights.
The women wore purple texts saying “No to Duterte, No to Marcos” and had purple scarves across their faces and linked arms as a show of resistance to “neo-fascism.” Focus on the Global South, Center for Migrant Advocacy, Ating Guro, Philipine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), Sarilaya, WomanHealth, and numerous courageous women also joined the action. They hope that women and their compatriots will think of the rights that women and the Filipino people fought for through the years and not sacrifice them on May 9.