Marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (IDEVAW), the Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women urged candidates for national positions to include measures to address rising cases of violence against women and children and improve services for victims seeking help in their electoral agenda. The group also called on aspiring officials to stand against human rights abuses against peasant women perpetrated by state forces through the Duterte government’s counter-insurgency policies targeting women farmers, leaders and community organizers associated with organizations asserting rights to land, food and justice.
The peasant women group said that the prolonged lockdowns and the worsening economic crisis resulted in an increase in abuse and violence experienced by women at home and at the hands of state forces citing data from the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) and the Center for Women’s Resources (CWR).
PCW noted that before the pandemic, one in three women experienced physical or sexual abuse mostly by an intimate partner while CWR recorded at least seven reported cases of state-perpetrated violence against women since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 to 2021. CWR also noted that there have been 56 police officers who have been involved in 33 cases of abuse against women, including 16 cases of rape during the first two years of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s presidency from July 2016 to March 2018.
“Duterte’s consistent misogynist remarks coupled by his counter-insurgency measures and criminal negligence in his pandemic response made more women vulnerable to exploitation and violence. His macho-fascist character not only normalized but also intensified disregard for women’s rights and issues and the culture of impunity,” Amihan national chairperson Zenaida Soriano said.
The peasant women group said that there have been 45 peasant women victims of extra-judicial killings while 65 out of 82 peasant women political prisoners, including Amihan leader Genalyn Avelino and Amihan-Cagayan organizer Amanda Echanis, were imprisoned under the Duterte regime.
Amihan peasant women leaders, organizers and members of including Leonisa Taray of Bohol, Julie Marcos, Jacqueline Ratin of Cagayan, Nenita Apricio, Gladys Ganado and Cita Managuelod of Isabela, are victims of series of harassment and vilification of state forces, putting their lives and their families at risk.
“Billions of funds should not be wasted on NTF ELCAC. Sinusuportahan namin ang ginawang pagbawas ng pondo ng Senado sa walang kwentang ahensiyang ito. Tama at makatwiran ang panawagang i-defund at i-abolish ang ahensiyang ito na walang ginawa kundi ipahamak ang pamilyang magbubukid at mamamayan,” Soriano added.
“Political candidates who have track record on human rights abuses and violence against women, including those who remained silent on these issues do not deserve the Filipino people’s vote. We should be inspired by the Mirabal sisters who resisted the Trujillo dictatorship and fought for democratic rights,” Soriano ended. ###