Women’s rights advocates air grievances in Visayas protest actions
ILOILO CITY—Women’s rights advocates and groups in Panay on Thursday marked International Women’s Day with a caravan and protest actions decrying the worsening situation of women, higher prices of commodities and basic services.
In Iloilo City, the women’s group Gabriela led a 50-vehicle caravan from the Jaro District public plaza passing the plazas of Mandurriao, Molo, Arevalo, Calaparan, Plaza Libertad, Lapaz to the University of the Philippines Visayas campus.
In the UPV campus, various women’s groups and advocates launched the March 8 Movement, a coalition on women’s issues.
Around 600 protesters joined a protest action in the afternoon from the grounds of the provincial capitol and along the main streets of the city. Similar protest actions were also held in Estancia and Miag-ao towns in Iloilo and the capital town of Kalibo in Aklan and in Roxas City in Capiz.
The protesters denounced the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) law which they blamed for the increase in the prices of commodities and services.
“The burden on budgeting the family’s earnings to meet daily needs usually fall on women and they are the worst affected in price increases,” said Lucy Francisco, Gabriela coordinator for Panay and Guimaras.
She said the increase of the price of rice have also hit hard fixed income earners and poor families.
“What benefits the government is talking about when many families have less food on the table and little income left for their families?” Francisco said.
She said consumers and commuters are also bracing for higher fare of public utility vehicles and electricity and water rates because of the increase in the prices of petroleum products.
Francisco said anti-women views and behavior are being encouraged by “misogynic” statements of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“The culture of violence against women worsens when the highest official of the country openly and casually jokes about women and violence against women.
She cited a statement of the President directing soldiers to shoot female New People’s Army rebels in the vagina.
“If there is no vagina, it would be useless,” the President had said during a meeting with alleged rebel returnees. /jpv
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