Gabriela Women’s Party cites importance of women’s rights

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The representative of the militant women’s group Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene Brosas on Monday has cited the significance of the women’s rights during the National Women’s Month Celebration and International Women’s Day.  

“Beyond the current commercialized celebration of Women’s Month and Women’s Day, this important time of the year actually derives its significance from the historical mass uprisings of working class women in the US, Russia and other parts of the world,” said Brosas.

“Women’s salaries have been  very low, their contractualization is widespread, a lot have lost their jobs,” said Brosas.  

“In this situation, women are pushed to defend their livelihoods and rights,” Brosas also said.

“But instead of being listened to, the Duterte regime has been implementing the ‘whole-of-nation’  approach of militarization,” said Brosas.

On March 8, Gabriela will lead a nationwide march  to calls for increase of salaries, end to contractualizaiton, and for women’s rights.

“To be a woman in this kind of unjust and uncaring society is to live in a time of unrest. That is why womanhood in the current context isn’t a badge of blinded pride and self-empowerment. Rather, it is a badge of resilient struggle amid various layers of injustice and amid attempts to further silence and disempower us,” said Brosas.

On March 8, 1917, over 90,000 Russian women workers protested on the streets and demanded “bread and peace” to call for economic relief and for an end to the Tsar’s reign.  

Such massive strike significantly contributed to the victory of the February revolution and the Russian monarchy’s fall from power.

In the Philippines, the International Women’s Day was first commemorated on March 8, 1971, when MAKIBAKA and KATIPUNAN led hundreds of women to a protest against poverty, low wages and inhumane conditions at work under the Marcos regime.

“Indeed, March 8 is inextricably linked to working women’s struggle for higher wages, regular jobs, and economic relief. It is a day to remind us that decades after the historical uprisings led by women workers, the socio-economic conditions that warrant such political actions have remained the same, especially in the Philippine context,” said Brosas, in a statement on Monday.

Eight  regions across the country, including National Capital Region (NCR)  and Bicol region, have been deprived of any wage increase for more than a year now, she said. 

The minimum wage for NCR for instance has been stuck at P537 per day since October 2018 despite the incessant price hikes of basic commodities and services and the impacts of Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN)  Law.

In Bicol, workers have to make do with just P310 per day as minimum wage. For most of the members of the  House, P310 and P537 are mere crumbs, she said.

The Congresswoman said such amount of money is just a politician’s snack or coffee money.  

Brosas also said a policeman’s salary have already been doubled recently, and that the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) have already been signed, where high-paying government workers  are benefitting.   But lowly-paid workers, especially women, are still suffering for their low wages.

She said also having difficulties are contractual workers who have not been regularized and given security of tenure.

She   also said the wage boards nationwide have also not acted on their demands.

Brosas said the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak have also worsen their situation as the low paid workers cannot afford their medicines.

Brosas  also cited the high cost of food especially rice.

Brosas  also cited  the  harassment of vendors in the streets by the Philippine National Police (PNP)./Stacy Ang

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