Alyce, a 42-year old mother of three, was the supportive wife of the Bayan Muna provincial chairperson of Kalinga. She ended up dead, killed by a death squad of suspected military agents in an ambush that also critically wounded her husband, Dr. Constancio “Chandu” Claver. Now, justice for Alyce is still elusive as those accountable for her death go free and unpunished.
Nicole, a 22-year old college graduate, was on a night out with her cousin when she came across some American soldiers looking for fun in a bar in Subic. She ended up drunk and raped inside a van, left by her rapists on the roadside to find her own way back to the hotel. Nicole’s hopes for justice are still uncertain, as state prosecutors of the Department of Justice seem more sympathetic to the American servicemen that to their victim Nicole.
Adela is a 28 year old overseas Filipino worker, employed as a factory worker in Riyadh, but tricked into as an aide and caregivers for people with special needs in a facility of Annasban. For complaining, she and other women were locked up by their employer in a rooftop without food for several months before finally being repatriated. Now home safe but jobless, Adela is once again staking her life on GMA’s “Super Maid” program in the hope of finding a job to support her extended family.
These three women are faces of oppression under the US-GMA regime. They epitomize the condition of Filipino women within a society that values the interests of its foreign imperialist masters over the lives of its own citizens. ($339.9B budget for debt servicing while 1.3% for health and 14% for education).
They are the victims of society that views violence against women as normal course of events. One woman is raped every 12 hours. A woman and child is battered every three hours, a woman is sexually harassed every 12 hours.
They are victims of a president who chooses to sell Filipino women as “Super Maids” to the whole world. (Each day 4,000+ Filipinos leave the country, while 6-10/day come home in coffins. OFW contributed 8.5 billion dollars to the economy in 2005)
Rather than allot resources to generate employment in our own country. (Unemployment reached nearly 50% of the total labor force, while minimum wage was pegged at P325 in a country where a family of six needs P665 to survive.)
They are but a few of the victims of a government that kills activist with impunity as it desperately tries to prolong its stay in power. (764 political killings and 180 disappearances since GMA became president)
But while Alyce, Nicole and Adela are women oppressed, they too are women of power. They represent the fighting spirit of Filipino women against great odds. By their example, they inspire us to fight for our rights in the face of vicious attacks by the state against the people. They offer a rallying point around which we Filipinos, men and women of the democratic classes, can come together for a common cause. Our cause is freedom from oppression, violence and foreign domination. Our cause is democracy, equality and liberation.
On this National Women’s Day of Protest, let us raise our fist and voices in protest against the oppressive GMA regime and all forms of violence against women, as we salute the millions of oppressed but powerful Filipino women fighting for their rights. #