By DIWATA DONATO
BAGUIO CITY — Innabuyog, an alliance of indigenous women’s organizations in the Cordillera, conducted a “Violence Against Women” (VAW) forum, as part of the week-long celebration of Political Science Academic Society’s annual Political Science Week bearing the theme “Social and Political Injustices: We Raise Awareness and We Partake,” held at Saint Louis University (SLU), Baguio City last November 17.
Innabuyog aims to instill awareness among men and women about women rights and their significant role in the nation’s struggle for genuine freedom and democracy.
Cynthia Dacanay-Jaramillo, executive director of Cordillera Women’s Education, Action and Research Center (CWEARC), spearheaded the orientation of VAW. Their VAW forum calls on young women to go beyond the confines of their classrooms and claim their place in the Filipino women’s struggle for liberation.
Dacanay-Jaramillo discussed the myths, forms, history, context and mechanisms in addressing violence against women. She stated “that although VAW is usually perpetrated by males, it must be clear that VAW happens not because men are naturally violent and oppressive, but because VAW has its historical roots.” She also adds that “males must also be seen as victims of the system.”
Dacanay-Jaramillo also reminded the students that besides knowing the different forms of violence against women, they should also be vigilant in VAW cases and raise awareness to these cases.
The forum also included testimonies of victims of state-instigated VAW, along with Rachel Mariano, women human rights defenders accused of trumped-up charges, and Brenda Subido Dacpano, a political prisoner during the martial law.
Mariano is one of the five women human rights defenders, activists and development workers charged with trumped-up cases of frustrated and attempted murders according to the information data filed at the Department of Justice in Ilocos Sur, in relation to two firing incidents that happened in July and August 2017 between a group of the New People’s Army and the 7th Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
As the Health Program Desk Coordinator of the Community Health Education, Services and Training in the Cordillera Region (Chestcore), Mariano and Chestcore denounce the prosecution of development workers, human rights defenders and political activists. They said that “this is a part of a nationwide scheme that aims to cripple the mass movement that is working towards attaining basic social services, including health services.”
The Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) also released a statement regarding the issue and states that “all these come in the light of the worsening state of human rights in the country due to State policies making the people open target of human rights violations, and these fabricated charges against human rights defenders fighting for equality and against all forms of discrimination demonstrates the tyranny towards the dictatorship of the Duterte regime.”
Mariano addressed the students to organize themselves in exposing the truth in the current administration. She advised them to be rational and logical, and said that “maging matalino nating suriin kung ano ang gustong gawin ng presidente.”
Moreover, Dacpano, an activist and former political detainee during the Martial Law and the secretary-general of The Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda) Northern Luzon, shared her story of being a political detainee.
She also expressed the same sentiment that it has been a practice by State security forces to threaten, harass, intimidate and neutralize whom they deem as “enemies of the State” including political activists.
Brenda also addressed the students to study well. “Intindihin ang history at pag-aralan dahil may pagbabaluktot sa ating kasaysayan. Walang katapusang pag-aaral, pag-iintindi, at pag-uugat sa mga sumusulpot na issues,” she advised them.
She also believes that there are no changes in the violence against women during the martial law compared today. “May mga iba-ibang porma lang pero nandiyan pa rin ang pagtatago ng mga perpetrators sa pagbalahura nila sa mga kababaihan,” she said.
She also stated that “Mas mahirap ngayon kasi nag-aasta siya [Rodrigo Duterte] na hindi martial law pero parang martial law na rin.”
The forum was attended by political and social sciences students and faculty of SLU. # nordis.net