By SHERWIN DE VERA
BAGUIO CITY — On Heart’s Day, state perpetrated rights violation took center stage during the annual One Billion Rising dance in the city with the global call, “Rise! Resist! Unite! Raise the Vibration! Rise for Revolution!”
Innabuyog Secretary-General Audrey Corce explained that since 2015, OBR called on women to rise for social revolution. This call is in recognition that the violence women and girls experience today is rooted in the economic, political, and cultural structures of societies around the world.
According to her, the theme of revolution symbolizes the demand of women for a meaningful structural change. She added that a shift of consciousness that would make the sustaining of violence impossible.
In her speech, Corse underscored that women, advocating human rights, are the most vulnerable to different state-instigated attacks. She said that under the “macho-fascist” presidency of Rodrigo Duterte, attacks on women activists intensified.
“[I]n the case of Innabuyog where the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police have intensified their smear campaign against the alliance and its member organizations through Facebook, tagging them as ‘fronts’ of Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs),” the Innabuyog leader added.
She stressed that besides the rising number of human rights violations, the people are also suffering from the anti-people policies of the administration. According to her, the political accommodation of Duterte allies has worsened corruption in the government, denying the people of precious resources. She also noted the steep rise of prices in fuel and basic commodities caused by the TRAIN law and billions of loses in the agriculture sector from the Rice Tariification Law.
Corse also blasted the government’s Inter-Agency Legal Action Committee (IALAC) for weaponizing the law. She likewise condemned President Duterte’s Executive Order 70 for militarizing public services and the civilian bureaucracy.
Under the current administration, five women activists and development workers based in Baguio are facing trumped-up charges. The military’s 81st Infantry Battalion filed ten counts of attempted homicide and four counts of attempted and frustrated homicide against Rachel Mariano, Sarah Alikes-Abellon, Sherry Mae Soledad, and Joanne Villanueva.
Government troops accused them of participating in the armed clashes with New People’s Army guerillas in 2017 that reportedly occurred in Salcedo and Sigay towns in Ilocos Sur. The Alfredo Cezar, Jr. Command-NPA Ilocos Sur denied that any of their units figured in a firefight in Sigay.
Soldiers from the 81st IB also filed murder raps against Mariano for the death of their colleague in an NPA attack in Patiacan, Quirino, Ilocos Sur. The Regional Trial Court in Tagudin, Ilocos Sur acquitted her on September 4 last year.
According to Shannen Dela Cruz of the Innabuyog-GABRIELA Youth, OBR is now in its 8th year. She explained that organizers based OBR “on the United Nations’ statistics that 1 in 3 women all over the world will experience violence during her lifetime.” This figure, she said, adds up to more than one billion women and girls worldwide.
The regional alliance of indigenous women’s organizations in the Cordillera, Innabuyog, together with the Cordillera Women’s Education Action Research Center, the University of the Philippines Kasarian Office, and the Gender Desk of the UPB Student Council, led the dance protest. More than a hundred participants attended the activity and echoed its central theme to “Rise for Revolution!”
Eve Ensler, known for her play Vagina Monologues, founded the global campaign and launched in February 2012 to end rape and sexual violence against women. Filipino artists and activist Monique Wilson is the global director of OBR. # nordis.net