“Ang araw na ito ay hindi lang pagkilala sa mga kababaihan–ang araw ito ay paggunita at pagkilala sa makasaysayang papel ng kababaihan sa pagpapalaya ng bayan at ng kanilang sarili (This day is not only to commemorate women — let this be a day to recognize the historical role of women in the struggle for national liberation and the liberation of women all over the world),” Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Elago said.
Kabataan Party-list calls on the Filipino youth, women and people to march against Duterte’s rising state fascism and empty promises as they lead youth groups marching to Liwasang Bonifacio and later to Mendiola on March 8, International Working Women’s Day.
“This spirit is needed more than ever in the face of a regime’s empty promises and continued attacks on the people. More than ever, we must exert our collective force in condemning these attacks and urge Duterte to heed our just aspirations and demands,” Elago said.
All-out offensives against the people
“The state is in an elaborate ploy to silence its enemies and quell the increasing discontent of the people. In its desperation to consolidate power, the Duterte administration is setting up the stage for greater and graver attacks,” Elago said.
The groups expressed their utmost condemnation with the passing of House Bill 4727 in Congress, which seeks to reinstate death penalty for drug-related crimes. With the potential for abuse, Elago describes the swift passing of the bill as an “all-out offensive on the people.”
Among other priority measures of the Duterte administration include the revival of ROTC for senior high school students, the lowering of the minimum age of responsibility, the political rehabilitation of the Marcoses, and the declaration of ‘all-out war’ with the New People’s Army.
“All-out war has turned into waves of killings, illegal detention and arrests against legal activists, national minorities and peasant leaders in the countryside,” Elago said, citing the recent arrest of BAYAN Metro Manila officer Ferdinand Castillo earlier this year.
“Despite the summary killings among the poor and other civilians amounting to 7,000, and increasing criticism from various sectors, the anti-poor war on drugs is set to worsen under ‘Oplan Double Barrel Alpha Reloaded,’” Elago added.
“While Duterte is busy railroading its war of terror on the people, he is backtracking on what turns out to be his empty promises during the elections, and instead, is kowtowing to his administration’s 10-point economic agenda and the interests of his neoliberal economic advisers in Cabinet,” Elago said.
“Despite pronouncements to end all forms of contractualization, DOLE has instead passed their purported ‘win-win’ solution instead,” Elago said. DOLE originally proposed Department Order 168, which seeks to sub-contract workers and instead “regularize” them in agencies, rotating workers through different employers in the usual contract period.
Elago also slammed the recent passage of a bogus free education bill which, according to her, will only guarantee private profits for big capitalist-educators.
“The bogus free education bill that was passed by the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education aims to translate UP’s socialized tuition on a nationwide scale. We’ve already heard this empty rhetoric of ‘democratizing’ education and ‘prioritizing’ the poor and underprivileged, but instead it worsened accessibility to college education thru the socialized tuition system, which in turn hyped up UP’s and other SUCs’ profits,” Elago said.
Towards more historic struggles
“This makes the struggle that characterize women’s day all the more important, not just for women workers but for the youth and the people in the country and around the world. We should set the stage for greater and more historic protests in our aspiration for a truly free society. When the administration is bent on silencing our protest and demands, all the more there is reason to fight,” Elago said.
“Malaki ang papel ng kabataang kababaihan sa laban ng mamamayang Pilipino. Dapat nilang isanib ang kanilang lakas sa mamamayan para labanan ang tumitinding pang-aabuso dala ng mga neoliberal at pasistang atake sa kanilang hanay (Young women play a huge role in the struggle of the Filipino people. They should link their forces with the collective force to fight the worsening neoliberal and fascist attacks on their ranks),” Elago concluded. ###