Tag Archives: Women’s Rights

[From the web] Women and Labor Groups to Gender Ombud: Investigate PhilHealth’s Objectification of Woman for Official’s Birthday -CATW-AP

#HumanRights #Women and Labor Groups to Gender Ombud: Investigate PhilHealth’s Objectification of Woman for Official’s Birthday

Photo from CATW-AP FB Page

Eight groups of women and labor organizations trooped to the Commission on Human Rights Commission on Human Rights (CHR), to file a complaint of discrimination and violation of women’s rights under the Magna Carta of Women against PhilHealth Regional Vice President Paolo Johann Perez and regional office employees.

According to Joanna Bernice Coronacion, Deputy Secretary General of Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa – Sentro
, “In two days, we are marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (VAW), and we should remind the state and the public that reinforcement of women’s objectification is unacceptable.”

Jean Enriquez, Executive Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women – Asia Pacific (CATW-AP), cited that within the definition of discrimination in the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which is the basis of the Magna Carta of Women, is distinction of women on the basis of sex with the purpose of nullifying her rights. “In this instance as in many normalized instances of treating women as gifts to men and their portrayal as always sexually available to men, women’s right to be treated equal in dignity is violated.”

Judy Ann Chan-Miranda, Secretary General of Partido Manggagawa (PM), cited Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, which states that all government resources and powers of their respective offices must be employed and used efficiently, honestly and economically. “The use of PhilHealth office to display utter disregard for women’s rights should be accounted for.”

Ana Maria Nemenzo, National Coordinator of WomanHealth Philippines, also deplored the acts of the PhilHealth officials and employees which she says normalizes the hyper-objectification of women which discourages women and girls from reporting when they are abused. “Women and girls are reluctant to report sexual violence because of fear of being blamed since public officials normalize sexual objectification,” Nemenzo stressed.

Amparo Miciano, Secretary General of Pambansang Kongreso ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK), “The State, as the primary duty-bearer, shall refrain from discriminating against women and violating their rights; protect women against discrimination and from violation of their rights by entities, and individuals; and fulfill the rights of women in all spheres, including their rights to substantive equality and non-discrimination,” Miciano added in quoting the Magna Carta of Women.

Other complainants were Ellene Sana, Executive Director of the Center for Migrant Advocacy, Phils. Inc., Janina Luz Cruz Sarmiento, representing the Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA), Philippines, and Myrna Jimenez, representing SARILAYA.

The complaint stemmed from the Senate blue ribbon committee’s report on its investigation into PhilHealth anomalies back in August 2019. It took the panel a year to finalize the report because of other investigations and the coronavirus pandemic, according to Senator Richard Gordon of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. The committee report read that “on his birthday, Perez received a gift, an enormous box, in his office. A girl, dressed in nothing but her underwear, danced and gyrated provocatively in front of Perez.”

The acts cited in the report pertaining to the purchase of a woman by PhilHealth employees and the condonation of such by the PhilHealth official, fundamentally illustrates that women as a group can be treated as commodities that can be bought and used as entertainment for sexual pleasure.

The CHR, mandated as the Gender and Development Ombud by the Magna Carta of Women, is primarily responsible for investigations and complaints of discrimination and violations of their rights brought under this Act and related laws and regulations.

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[In the news] Bato’s ‘lips to lips’ remark ‘normalizes’ sexual harassment, Chel Diokno says -PhilStar.com

Bato’s ‘lips to lips’ remark ‘normalizes’ sexual harassment, Chel Diokno says

Opposition candidate Chel Diokno rebuked fellow candidate and former Philippine National Police chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, who commented that the fastest way to learn Kapampangan was to kiss a Pampanga local “lips to lips.”

“Sabi nila, ang pinakamabilis daw na paraan para matuto ka ng salitang kapampangan ay makipag-lips to lips ka lagi ng kapampangan para mabilis yung pag-transfer ng kaalaman (They say the fastest way to learn the Kapampangan language is to ‘lips to lips’ kiss to be able to transfer knowledge faster),” Dela Rosa joked during the launch of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago senatorial slate in Pampanga.

But Diokno, a human rights lawyer-turned-opposition senatorial candidate, did not find the joke funny.

“Itong biro ni General Ronald Dela Rosa na paghalik daw sa babaeng Kapampangan ang pinakamabilis na paraan para matutunan ang wika nila ay tulad ng napakaraming biro ng administrasyong ito, hindi nakakatawa at hindi nakakatuwa (This joke of General Ronald Dela Rosa who said the fastest way to learn Kapampangan langauge is like a lot of jokes of the administration. It’s neither amusing nor funny),” the opposition candidate said.

Diokno called the comments “irresponsible.”

Read full article @www.philstar.com

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[In the news] Women’s rights advocates slam Duterte ‘bragging’ about touching maid in his teens -ABS-CBN.com

Women’s rights advocates slam Duterte ‘bragging’ about touching maid in his teens

MANILA – It is disturbing and infuriating to hear President Rodrigo Duterte “brag” about attempting in his teen years to rape a housekeeper, women’s rights advocates said Sunday.

Duterte recounted in a speech how he confessed to a priest of the Catholic school he was attending, who would later “touch him,” that he went into a maid’s room while she was asleep and behaved inappropriately.

The statement about the “crime” as a young man is only the latest in Duterte’s “countless statements bragging about committing crimes against women and the people,” including goading soldiers to rape women in war-torn Marawi City to ordering the bombing and hamletting of lumad communities, said GABRIELA Secretary General Joms Salvador.

Read full article @news.abs-cbn.com

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[Statement] WeMen for Gender Justice Statement during the International Women’s Day 2014 -Lanog Mindanao

Salute and Celebrate Victories and Challenges
WeMen for Gender Justice Statement during the International Women’s Day 2014

Photo by Lanog Mindanao

Photo by Lanog Mindanao

8 March 2014- We are given a chance to show our solidarity and gratitude to our women and celebrate the victories of the working women demanding rights as workers and as human at the same time to women’s contribution in building our society –the struggle for quality life and social justice.


It has been a struggle led by women across the world making world power balance and on how to nurture mother earth. It has been a challenge to confront Patriarchy and Capitalism. But it did not stop the women’s movement worldwide, instead these challenges made the struggle relevant and timely.

WeMen for Gender Justice and many activists today across genders in the world will have different actions in time of the International Women’s Day 2014 though this is just one of the many days of gender justice campaigns and efforts. We would like to share this day to all activists and every single woman in the world. We are very thankful for giving life to us as our mothers. We would like to express our salute and gratitude particularly to those who offered their lives and martyred of this cause. We will continue to celebrate hopes, voices and actions as we continue to work hand-in-hand with them towards the elimination of violence and discrimination towards equality and justice.

As we celebrate this day we stand firm against those who dare to violate women’s rights and those rapist-capitalists of mother earth – the greedy capitalism that caused destruction to our environment and displacements. We believe that no nation can claim of being free if half of its population is marginalized and neglected, oppressed and denied.

Time for us men to do our share and find our space in this fight. Give up that insecurities and be part of this humanist and internationalist cause.

WeMen for Gender Justice will join the actions organized by the women organizations in Mindanao, Philippines and organize meetings, discussions and solidarity actions of its own in this 2014 International Women’s Day and Philippine National Women’s Month and the rest of the year.

For women and earth are the same – source of life, Salute and Celebrate Victories and Challenges.

Vhong Fenis
WeMen for Gender Justice, Mindanao, Philippines
fvaltimore@yahoo.com
8 March 2014

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[Event] One Billion Rising for Justice -V-Day

Photo extracted from V-Day FB page

Photo extracted from V-Day FB page

On 14 February 2013, one billion people in 207 countries rose and danced to demand an end to violence against women and girls.

On 14 February 2014, we are escalating our efforts, calling on women and men everywhere to RISE, RELEASE, DANCE and demand JUSTICE!

ONE BILLION RISING FOR JUSTICE is a global call to women survivors of violence and those who love them to gather safely in community outside places where they are entitled to justice – courts, police stations, government offices, colleges, work places, places of worship, homes. It is a call to survivors to break the silence and release their stories – politically, spiritually, outrageously – through art, dance, marches, ritual, song, spoken word, testimonies and whatever way feels right.

V day

Our stories have been buried, denied, erased, altered and minimized by patriarchal systems that allow impunity to reign. Justice begins when we speak, release and acknowledge the truth in solidarity and community. ONE BILLION RISING FOR JUSTICE is an invitation to break free from confinement, obligation, shame, guilt, grief, pain, humiliation, rage, and bondage.

It is a call to bring on revolutionary justice.

Begin to imagine what Rising for Justice looks like for you, your community, your city, your country.

Our website will expand in September with more features and we look forward to highlighting your ideas.

In 2013 We Shook The Earth, See What One Billion People Rising Looks Like click links below…

About

https://www.facebook.com/vday

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[Event] #ProjectPagbangon Concert Series. By Philippine Misereor Partnership

#ProjectPagbangon Concert Series. By Philippine Misereor Partnership

Project Pagbangon the concert series

For more pls visit http://pmpi.org.ph/

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[Press Release] Health advocates push for the allocation of funds for women andchildren-friendly safety spaces in disaster and conflict areas – ABI HEALTH

On the week of the 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW)
Health advocates push for the allocation of funds for women andchildren-friendly safety spaces in disaster and conflict areas
December 13, 2013
ALTERNATIVE BUDGET INITIATIVE (ABI) – HEALTH

Press Release
10 December 2013

On the day of the open Bicameral Conference (BICAM) and on the week of the18-Day Campaign to End VAW, health and women rights advocates pushedlegislators to allocate funds, sourced from the approved PhP100-billionCalamity and Rehabilitation Fund and PhP14.6-billion Supplemental budget, forthe establishment of women and children-friendly safety spaces in disasterand conflict-affected areas.

ABI Health Cluster copy

According to Mercy Fabros of the Alternative Budget Initiative HealthCluster (ABI-Health), “our call today is very timely. As we commemorate the18-Day Campaign to End VAW, our society especially our government shouldvow to protect its women and children against violence and abuse. Sincefunds are available for calamity and rehabilitation, let us allocate a goodportion to build safety spaces for women, children and other vulnerablesectors in disaster-ravaged communities.”

Women and children-friendly spaces are places where these sectors cansafely do their everyday routine, move around, sleep, breastfeed, play andwatch over their children anytime of the day especially at night. It is anaccessible space for the internally-displaced women and girls where theirwelfare is promoted and organized, gender-responsive services are provided.

“This early, we have been hearing stories of sexual abuse and exploitationfrom the ground being experienced by both survivors and caregivers. This isunacceptable! For us, even in emergency situations like this, order,security and protection should never be compromised. In fact, it should bea standard operating procedure integrated in the government’s immediateresponse to disasters and conflicts,” Fabros stressed.

In the lined-up amendments of the Senate for the 2014 National GovernmentBudget, almost a total of PhP144-billion has been identified to be spentfor disaster-related expenses such quick response, disaster risk reductionmanagement (DRRM), relief and reconstruction. “We just hope that there is aplace for women and children in the allocation of these identified funds,not only for infrastructure but also for the protective mechanisms thatcome along with it,” Fabros added.

Lessons and reports from international disasters such as Hurricane Katrina,Haiti earthquake and the Indian Ocean tsunami have shown that rape andsexual violence are not isolated incidents, but are part of a pattern ofbehaviour in disaster situations. While major relief agencies nowacknowledge this, gender-based violence is still generally a marginal issueand remains invisible in the public mind and under-reported by media.

Reports from the ground show that the same trend is happening now inYolanda-stricken areas where almost 75-80% of women and children survivorshave increased vulnerability to sexual exploitation and abuse. If this isnot prevented, about two percent or 61,000 women and girls (15-49 yearsold) will most likely experience such in humanitarian setting.

“At this time when there is a seeming quieting after the chaos, thegovernment might be able to listen well enough to the voices from theground especially that of the vulnerable women and children about theirneeds and plans for the future. To end VAW is everybody’s duty as what thisyear’s theme of the 18-day campaign says. However, the government shouldspearhead this. The allocation of funds for the protection of women andchildren including their long-term preparedness is one big step in theright direction,” Fabros said.

The ABI-Health Cluster is composed of 62 member organizations advocatingfor Universal Health Care. It is one of the clusters of ABI along withEducation, Agriculture, Social Protection, Environment and Persons withDisabilities Clusters. It is attached to Social Watch Philippines (SWP), anetwork of a hundred nongovernment organizations that, for eight years, hasbeen successfully pushing for increases in the national budgets for socialdevelopment, called for the realignment of P25 Billion allotted to theunconstitutional Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) to nationalgovernment agencies’ programs to help victims of disasters and prevent moretragedies caused by super typhoons and other calamities. #30#

Quotes from this PR were used for the Dec 12 Editorial of the Manila Standard Today
<http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/12/12/help-for-the-vulnerable/&gt;

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[Event] 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW) 2013 -www.pcw.gov.ph

18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW) 2013

Theme:
End VAW Now! It’s Our Duty!
Monday, November 25, 2013 to Thursday, December 12, 2013

Since 2002, the Philippines has been actively joining the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence that is being observed globally from November 25 to December 10. Said campaign calls for the elimination of all forms of violence against women through awareness-raising about gender-based violence, strengthening local work and establishing a clear link between local and international work to end VAW, among other undertakings.

18-day-campaign-logo_0

In 2006, through Presidential Proclamation 1172, the Philippine campaign was extended to 18 days, to include December 12 which is known as the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Day.

This year, the country’s commitment to the observance was strengthened as President Benigno S. Aquino III signed the Republic Act 10398 declaring November 25 of every year as the “National Consciousness Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Children.” The law also raises the standard by which this campaign is observed by mandating key agencies to undertake activities designed to raise public awareness on VAW.

With the theme: “End VAW Now! It’s Our Duty!” the call will emphasize the importance of having a functional mechanism, operated by competent and capable duty-bearers with a sense of responsibility and accountability originating from a deep understanding of the fundamental principles of gender-based violence and the provisions of VAW laws.

Read full article @www.pcw.gov.ph

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“March 8, 2013 International Women’s Day” finalist for the 3rd HR Pinduteros Choice for HR VIDEO

3 ClydieCandy copy

Vote for the video “March 8, 2013 International Women’s Day” by ClydieCandy for the 3rd HR Pinduteros Choice for HR VIDEO.

Watch video @ https://hronlineph.com/2013/03/09/featured-video-march-8-2013-international-womens-day-by-clydiecandy/

A feminist flashmob organized by World March of Women-Philippines, participated by Women Human Rights Defenders from different NGOs in the Philippines.

About World March of Women-Philippines
“We march to the streets, gather in spaces of protest and launch myriad forms of collective action, as we draw our strength from the wisdom forged by the herstorical struggle of our ancestors and our continuing efforts to sustain these struggles. We are telling our governments, the men in our societies, the people and institutions whose actions, policies, perspectives, ideologies and behaviour maintain the political, social and economic oppression of women that change we want, and change we are making happen.

“Here in the Philippines, the state of the majority of Filipino women remains precarious. True, there has been renewed hope under a new government that promises to be the total opposite of the inept government that GMA’s administration was and to undertake reforms in governance, but this breath of fresh air is so thin it is fast depleting, threatening once again the gains that the women’s movement in the Philippines have achieved.”
————-

This entry was posted on March 9, 2013
https://hronlineph.com/2013/03/09/featured-video-march-8-2013-international-womens-day-by-clydiecandy/

Iboto ang iyong #HRPinduterosChoice para sa HR VIDEO.

Ang botohan ay hanggang sa 11:59PM ng Nov 15, 2013.
Ikaw para kanino ka pipindot? Simple lang bumoto:
• i-LIKE ang HRonlinePH.com FB page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Human-Rights-Online-Philippines/160809923975269) , sa photo album ay i-LIKE ang thumbnail/s ng iyong mga nais iboto, i-share at ikampanya.
Maari ring bumoto sa pamamagitan ng pagpindut sa button sa poll sa ilalim ng bawat nominadong post na matatagpuan din sa ilalim ng post na ito.
• Most number of the combined likes sa FB at sa poll buttons ang magiging 3rd HR Pinduteros Choice na kikilalanin sa 2013 HR week celebration.
Makiisa sa pagpapalaganap ng impormasyon hinggil sa karapatang pantao. Pindot na!
WHAT IS 3RD HR PINDUTEROS CHOICE AWARDS? https://hronlineph.com/2013/10/01/3rd-human-rights-pinduteros-choice-awards/

 

“Feminist Flashmob for Women’s Rights” finalist for the 3rd HR Pinduteros Choice for HR VIDEO

1 TAKE BACK THE TECH copy

Vote for the video “Feminist Flashmob for Women’s Rights” by PH TakeBacktheTech for the 3rd HR Pinduteros Choice for HR VIDEO.

See Video @ https://hronlineph.com/2012/12/12/featured-video-feminist-flashmob-for-womens-rights-ph-takebackthetech/

During the December 10, 2012 International Human Rights Day, a feminist flashmob dance to the tune of “I am Woman” led by World March of Women – Pilipinas was held at Plaza Miranda.

Women human rights defenders first blended with the vendors, with some holding balloons, as fortune-tellers, beggars, etc. Three dancers started clapping to the tune of the music, then seven dancers joined releasing purple balloons bearing the logo of the World March of Women. They were joined by another 20 coming from the crowd, until it grew to 70. The last batch of dancers, students from the University of the Philippines –Manila made it a throng.

On the last minute of the song, as steps turned to hip-hop, dancers took off their costumes, revealing white shirts which defiantly bore words “RH Now” in the face of continued delay in its passage in Congress. Some shirts shout “Climate Justice!”, in the face of ongoing negotiations in Doha, Qatar and the devastation of typhoon Pablo in Mindanao. Other shirts carried slogans such as “Women Need FOI!”, “Secure Jobs for All!” and “Scrap VFA!”

Around 100 participated in the flashmob from Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), Bagong Kamalayan, Batis Center for Women, Buklod, Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA), Coalition Against Trafficking in Women – Asia Pacific (CATW-AP), Focus on the Global South, Foundation for Media Alternatives, KAISA – Nagkakaisang Iskolar para sa Pamantasan at Sambayanan – UP Diliman, KAISA-KA, Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK), Partido ng Manggagawa, Sarilaya, TIGRA Philippines, UP Manila students, WomanHealth Philippines, Women’s Crisis Center (WCC), and Youth and Students Advancing Gender Equality (YSAGE)

—————
This Video Production was part of 16 days x 16 stories of Take Back the Tech campaign
https://www.facebook.com/takebackthetechPH
Produced by Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA)
Editor: Hazel Tan
Videographers: Eric Sister, Hazel Tan, Johanna Acielo, Hazel of Sarilaya
————-
This entry was posted on December 12, 2012
See video @https://hronlineph.com/2012/12/12/featured-video-feminist-flashmob-for-womens-rights-ph-takebackthetech/

Iboto ang iyong #HRPinduterosChoice para sa HR VIDEO.

Ang botohan ay hanggang sa 11:59PM ng Nov 15, 2013.

Ikaw para kanino ka pipindot? Simple lang bumoto:
• i-LIKE ang HRonlinePH.com FB page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Human-Rights-Online-Philippines/160809923975269) , sa photo album ay i-LIKE ang thumbnail/s ng iyong mga nais iboto, i-share at ikampanya.
• Maari ring bumoto sa pamamagitan ng pagpindut sa button sa poll sa ilalim ng bawat nominadong post na matatagpuan din sa ilalim ng post na ito.
• Most number of the combined likes sa FB at sa poll buttons ang magiging 3rd HR Pinduteros Choice na kikilalanin sa 2013 HR week celebration.
Makiisa sa pagpapalaganap ng impormasyon hinggil sa karapatang pantao. Pindot na!
WHAT IS 3RD HR PINDUTEROS CHOICE AWARDS? https://hronlineph.com/2013/10/01/3rd-human-rights-pinduteros-choice-awards/ — with Nica Dumlao.

 

[Featured Photo] Sikad Padyak Laban sa Mining Act of 1995 Photo by Susan Corpuz of Lilak

Sikad Padyak Laban sa Mining Act of 95 Photo by Susan Corpuz

Sikad Padyak Laban sa Mining Act of 1995 Photo by Susan Corpuz of Lilak

June 20, 2013

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[Resources] Debt Snapshot by FDC

Debt Snapshot by FDC

DEBT

 

FDC

Click to read more Debt

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wk of disappeared copy

[In the news] Gabriela party-list files bill to penalize online exploitation of women | Sun.Star

Gabriela party-list files bill to penalize online exploitation of women | Sun.Star.
January 15, 2013

sunstar-network copyMANILA — Representatives of the women’s party-list group Gabriela filed on Tuesday a bill seeking to amend the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act to include the online exploitation of women.

Gabriela party-list Representatives Luzviminda Ilagan and Emmi de Jesus filed House Bill (HB) 6815, defining electronic violence against women (E-Vaw), providing protective measures and prescribing penalties therefore.

In the proposed bill, E-Vaw is defined as “any act or omission that involves the use or exploitation of information and communications technology (ICT) that causes or likely to cause mental, emotional or psychological distress or suffering to the victim.”

Read full article @www.sunstar.com.ph

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[In the news] Quiet signing of RH law marks beginning of ‘reconciliation’ – Lagman -InterAksyon.com

Quiet signing of RH law marks beginning of ‘reconciliation’ – Lagman
By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez, InterAksyon.com
December 29, 2012

InterAksyon logo2MANILA, Philippines — The lack of fanfare with which President Benigno Aquino III signed the Reproductive Health law is Malacanang’s way of starting a reconciliation process to ensure the support of all sectors for the new statute, its principal author in the House of Representatives said Saturday.

“Unlike the rage and controversy which attended the congressional debates and approval of the measure, the bill was signed as Republic Act No. 10354 in the privacy of the President’s study room without the anticipated ceremony in order not to exacerbate the conflict with some Catholic bishops and start the reconciliation process to ensure widespread support in the implementation of the RH law,” Albay Representative Edcel Lagman said.

Aquino signed the law on December 21, a day after he received the enrolled measure.

Read full article @www.interaksyon.com

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[In the news] One billion women to rise on Feb. 14–Filipinos at the forefront, led by Monique Wilson -INQUIRER.net

One billion women to rise on Feb. 14–Filipinos at the forefront, led by Monique Wilson
By Annelle S. Tayao, Philippine Daily Inquirer
December 29, 2012

inquirerAwash in purple light and its floor covered in rose petals, the stage of Music Museum in Greenhills was filled with women—kids, teens, mothers, artists, celebrities, even seniors who survived the war—all enthusiastically dancing to an upbeat tune.

At the very front were two of the group’s most passionate dancers: Renowned actress Monique Wilson and Tony award-winning playwright Eve Ensler, author of “The Vagina Monologues.”

Imagine that scene, but on a much larger scale: One billion women out on the streets in different parts of the world, all dancing to the same beat. The dance, however, isn’t just for show; it’s a protest, a movement, a collective cry—for people to put a stop to rape and all other forms of abuse against women.

The movement is called One Billion Rising, the brainchild of Ensler, an activist who has made it her life’s mission to fight violence against women. As part of her One Billion Rising World Tour, Ensler visited the country last Dec. 16-22 to help spread word about the campaign. Her other stops are Peru, Guatemala, Mexico, Los Angeles, India, Egypt, Paris, Belgium, London and the Congo.

Read full article @lifestyle.inquirer.net

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[Press Release] Landmark Law Crucial for Women’s Health -HRW

Philippines: Landmark Law Crucial for Women’s Health
Legislators Expected to Pass Reproductive Health Bill Despite Church Opposition

200px-Hrw_logo.svg(Manila, December 16, 2012) – The Philippines’ expected passage of a reproductive health law will be a massive step forward to promote women’s health and lives, Human Rights Watch said today. The prime objectives of the Reproductive Health Bill, which is scheduled for a final vote during the week of December 17, 2012, include increasing access to a range of reproductive health services and reducing maternal deaths.

The bill, first filed in Congress more than a decade ago, was ignored by lawmakers for years because of strong opposition led by the Roman Catholic Church. President Benigno Aquino III, facing calls from Catholic bishops for his excommunication for supporting the law, certified the bill as “urgent” on December 13, expediting the vote in Congress.

“The Reproductive Health Bill will have profound implications for improving the health and lives of women throughout the country,” said Carlos Conde, Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Aquino administration should be credited for having the political will to muster support for the bill in Congress despite the threat of a political backlash.”

Should the bill be approved by the House of Representatives on its third and final reading, as well as by the Senate, a draft law that harmonizes the Senate and House versions will be submitted to Aquino for his signature.

The Reproductive Health Bill seeks to integrate the government’s responsible parenthood and family planning efforts into all of its anti-poverty and development programs. It mandates the Health Department to lead the procurement and distribution of reproductive health care services and supplies. It provides for a more efficient system of maternal death review to decrease the incidence of maternal mortality.

The bill also requires age-appropriate sexuality education up through high school. It categorizes all products and supplies for modern family planning as “essential,” meaning they must be available at all hospitals and clinics. The bill also increases the pay of health workers in villages across the country.

According to the United Nations Population Fund, 3.4 million pregnancies occur in the Philippines every year. Half of those pregnancies are unintended while a third are aborted, often in clandestine, unsafe, and unsanitary procedures by nonprofessionals.

Abortion is illegal in the Philippines, the largest Roman Catholic country in Asia. The bill does not amend the penal code prohibition on abortion, but addresses post-abortion care standards.

The Population Fund estimates that there are 11 deaths of women from pregnancy-related causes every day in the Philippines and that “most of them could have been avoided in a well-functioning health care delivery system.” It said “maternal health conditions are the leading causes of burden of disease” among Filipino women.

“The Aquino administration should waste no time in carrying out the reproductive health law once it passes,” Conde said. “Many Filipino women have faced difficulties and sometimes death because of the absence of a comprehensive and consistent reproductive health policy. This law can change that.”

Contraception use in the Philippines is low because of erratic implementation of reproductive and population programs over the decades. The United Nations Population Fund has said that only 21 percent of women in the Philippines use any modern method of contraception while nearly 70 percent use no contraception at all. A 2008 demographic and health survey found that 22 percent of married women in the Philippines have an unmet need for family planning.

Reproductive health programs faltered because of opposition from the Catholic Church and conservative groups. Some local governments have passed local ordinances that banned the sale of condoms and contraceptives and forbid their distribution in government clinics, where most poor Filipinos turn for health care. Human Rights Watch documented the impact of such bans, particularly on the poor, in a 2004 report, “Unprotected: Sex, Condoms, and the Right to Health.” The Reproductive Health Bill, if passed, will revoke these ordinances.

The Philippines has ratified international human rights treaties that require it to ensure access to reproductive health services and to protect the rights to health, equality, privacy, and to decide on the number and spacing of children. UN expert bodies have repeatedly called on the Philippines to enact reproductive health legislation and improve family planning and reproductive health services. The UN treaty bodies addressing children’s rights, women’s equality, and economic, social and cultural rights have all pressed for such reforms.

“Too many Filipinos have long suffered from inadequate reproductive health policies, with the poor being hardest hit,” Conde said. “This bill marks the start of an era in which public policies can save lives, promote healthy family planning, and respect human rights.”

To view the 2004 Human Rights Watch report “Unprotected: Sex, Condoms and the Human Right to Health,” please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/reports/2004/05/04/unprotected-0

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on the Philippines, please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/asia/-philippines

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on women’s rights, please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/topic/womens-rights

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[People] May she rest in peace by Judy Pasimio

May she rest in peace

By Judy A. Pasimio / LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights)

Judy Pasimio photo from lilakToday, Sheryll Ananayo-Puguon was laid to rest. At least that’s what we say when we bury our dead. But I wonder if Sheryll is indeed at rest today. If my lola (grandmother) is to be believed, one’s spirit or soul, hovers around for days after one’s death, especially if the death was unexpected, and sudden. The spirit will be moving around, still not knowing that it has left its body, and then spend some more time, coming to terms with the truth that it already has. If so, then Sheryll could not be at rest today. As a mother, I imagine, Sheryll would be wondering how come her John Ezekiel is no longer breastfeeding on her. Then she would be seeing Samantha, her 4-year old daughter, pestering her grandmother, asking when her mother would wake up. Then Sheryll would see her own mother, crying, her eyes puffed and tired.

Then it might all come back to her – it was a bright afternoon, on the 7th of December, they were on their way home to Brgy. Didipio, Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya. She was sitting in front, with 3-month old John Ezekiel in her arms. Her cousin-in-law Randy Domingo was driving. Samantha, with her 4-year old cousin, sitting at the back of the van, were probably chatting away. And as they made a turn, there at Sitio Waterfalls, Sheryll saw, or heard first, it would all be a blur now – two men in a motorbike blocking their way, and shots were fired. Instinctively, she would have held John Ezekiel closer to her body, probably bending over to cover him, felt the pang of pain in her body, heard the shouts of Samantha, and the silence that came after. She was probably willing herself not to give in to the pain of the several gunshot wounds on her body to protect John and Samantha. She probably knew right away that Randy has been killed. She was probably praying to her Ifugao gods and goddesses, as she felt hands helping her out of the van, to please make her alright and survive this, thinking of her tiny John. And as she felt herself fading away, she was probably asking – why? What has happened? Why it has happened?

Today, Sheryll was laid to rest. But rest will not be with Sheryll, not when there is still no answer as to why she was brutally taken away from her children, and in their presence too. It was not a robbery, as the gunmen did not take any material thing from the van. No motive could be identified by the police. Sheryll was leading a relatively quiet life, different from that of her mother – Carmen Ananayo, or Manang Carmen to us. Manang Carmen is one of the active, vocal and committed leaders of DESAMA (Didipio Earth Savers Multi-Purpose Association), who have maintained her opposition against the gold mining operations in Didipio. It is Manang Carmen who has been receiving threats against her life. It is by the house of Manang Carmen where vehicles would be seen parked at odd times, especially during meetings with those who continue to oppose the mining operations.

Randy, on the other hand, was a small-scale mining operator in Didipio, who was believed to be having disputes with the large scale mining company.

As Sheryll is laid to rest, I wonder, will her spirit ever be at rest, knowing how Samantha has witnessed her violent death? And wondering what she has done to deserve this? I know for sure that Manang Carmen won’t be, until the real motive for killing has been known, the perpetrators have been identified and justice has been served.

The killing of Sheryll Ananayo-Puguon and Randy Domingo is now added to the growing list of atrocities and acts of violence in areas where there are mining operations. Their killings are added to the growing long list of cases of impunity under the Aquino administration.

If my lola is to be believed about the spirits of the dead who could not come to terms with the truth of their deaths, then the spirits of Sheryll, Randy as well as Juvy, Jordan, John, and younger Jordan, and other indigenous peoples who are victims of unsolved killings, are still hovering amidst us.

Rest there will not be, until justice is served to them.

Rest there will not be, until the killings are stopped. Not for the spirits, not for us.

judy.lilak@gmail.com / 63-9175268341


LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights)

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lilak-Purple-Action-for-Indigenous-Womens-Rights/446251688730248

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[Featured Video] Feminist Flashmob for Women’s Rights -PH TakeBacktheTech

Feminist Flashmob for Women’s Rights [Philippines – Full Version]
PHTakeBacktheTech

Take back the techDuring the International Human Rights Day, December 10, 2012, a feminist flashmob dance to the tune of “I am Woman” led by World March of Women – Pilipinas was held at Plaza Miranda (in front on Quiapo Church, Manila, PH), at noon.

Women dancers-activists first blended with the vendors, with some holding balloons, as fortune-tellers, beggars, etc. Three dancers started clapping to the tune of the music, then seven dancers joined releasing purple balloons bearing the logo of the World March of Women. They were joined by another 20 coming from the crowd, until it grew to 70. The last batch of dancers, students from the University of the Philippines –Manila made it a throng. On the last minute of the song, as steps turned to hip-hop, dancers took off their costumes, revealing white shirts which defiantly bore words “RH Now” in the face of continued delay in its passage in Congress. Some shirts shout “Climate Justice!”, in the face of ongoing negotiations in Doha, Qatar and the devastation of typhoon Pablo in Mindanao. Other shirts carried slogans such as “Women Need FOI!”, “Secure Jobs for All!” and “Scrap VFA!”

Around 100 participated in the flashmob from Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), Bagong Kamalayan, Batis Center for Women, Buklod, Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA), Coalition Against Trafficking in Women – Asia Pacific (CATW-AP), Focus on the Global South, Foundation for Media Alternatives, KAISA – Nagkakaisang Iskolar para sa Pamantasan at Sambayanan – UP Diliman, KAISA-KA, Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK), Partido ng Manggagawa, Sarilaya, TIGRA Philippines, UP Manila students, WomanHealth Philippines, Women’s Crisis Center (WCC), and Youth and Students Advancing Gender Equality (YSAGE)

—————

This Video Production is part of 16 days x 16 stories of Take Back the Tech campaign
Produced by Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA)
Editor: Hazel Tan
Videographers: Eric Sister, Hazel Tan, Johanna Acielo, Hazel of Sarilaya

Here is a vimeo version of this video – http://vimeo.com/55371741

Iboto ang iyong #HRPinduterosChoice para sa HR VIDEOS.

Ang botohan ay magsisimula ngayon hanggang sa 11:59 ng Nov 15, 2013.

Ikaw para kanino ka pipindot? Simple lang bumoto:
• pindutin ang inyong napupusuan sa poll button sa ibaba ng post na ito
• i-LIKE ang thumbnail/s ng iyong mga ibinoboto sa HRonlinePH facebook, i-share at
ikampanya.
• Most number of the combined likes sa FB at sa poll buttons ang magiging 3rd HR Pinduteros
Choice na kikilalanin sa 2013 HR week celebration.

Makiisa sa pagpapalaganap ng impormasyon hinggil sa karapatang pantao. Pindot na!

WHAT IS 3RD HR PINDUTEROS CHOICE AWARDS? https://hronlineph.com/2013/10/01/3rd-human-rights-
pinduteros-choice-awards/

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[Statement] ASEAN Human Rights Declaration Limited by ‘morality’ -Southeast Asian Women´s Caucus on ASEAN

ASEAN Human Rights Declaration Limited by ‘morality’
Say Women’s Organisations

The   Southeast Asian Women´s Caucus on ASEAN has expressed disappointment in the final version of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) adopted by ASEAN leaders on 18 November 2012.

The Women´s Caucus said that the Declaration has too many limitations and loopholes to be useful. “The Declaration has failed to uphold international standards” said the Caucus. “The Declaration makes rights subject to national laws, but national laws may discriminate against women and may not be fully compliant with international human rights standards. The Declaration also states that rights need to be ‘balanced’ with responsibilities which undermines existing commitments that ASEAN states are party to” she added.

The Caucus particularly denounced the inclusion of general limitations on rights premised on ‘public morality’, as being restrictive and a failure to uphold existing international obligations as well as other ASEAN declarations. “The idea that human rights can be limited to protect ‘public morality’ is really concerning” said Kate Lappin from the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development.” There is no definition of public morality in the Declaration to ensure it is interpreted progressively. Women in ASEAN still live in unequal societies, where culture and tradition dictate a lesser and differentiated status for women. Thus, notions of morality are most commonly used against women, to control women’s bodies and sexuality” she added.

Women’s rights and legal experts were consulted in the lead up to civil society submissions and all agreed that the subjective term ‘morality’ is an unnecessary and dangerous basis for limiting rights to be included in international law and is most likely to be used to limit the rights of women and marginalised groups[1].

Women’s groups campaigned to have the reference to public morality removed from the draft declaration. Numerous international human rights groups and experts agreed that the public morality clause is an anachronism that doesn’t belong in a modern declaration on human rights.

It appears that the majority of the ten member states agreed with the women’s rights activists and supported its removal. However a few states one being Malaysia, a member of the Human Rights Council strongly disagreed and insisted on the retention of the clause. “Allowing some states´ out dated concerns to prevail reduces ASEAN to a body striving for the lowest common denominator” said Ivy Josiah, Executive Director of Women’s Aid Organisation. She further added “consensus has its perils when the national interests of one member state triumph at the expense of universal human rights”.

The Women’s Caucus calls on all ASEAN states to ensure that the Declaration is interpreted progressively, without undermining the established universal principles and standards of human rights. ASEAN states will be held accountable in ensuring that the spirit and principles of the Declaration in no way negate the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the peoples of ASEAN as stated in Article 40 of the Declaration

_____________________________
¹ The report containing the opinions of experts consulted can be accessed at http://www.apwld.org

19th November 2012
Chiang Mai, Thailand

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[Event/Advisory] Raise the Bar! Women’s Rights in the ASEAN Now!

Raise the Bar! Women’s Rights in the ASEAN Now!

Philwomen on ASEAN, a national network of women’s organizations, invites you to join its mobilization on November 9 (Friday). Philwomen will call on the DFA Secretary and PNoy to take a pro-women stance in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Afterwards, the group will troop to the ASEAN chair Cambodian’s embassy to call for the same.

Program (8:00 AM- 11:00 AM):

* Meet in front of Cuneta Astrodome, Pasay City
* March from Cuneta Astrodome to Department of Foreign Affairs Office
* Opening remarks
* Messages on various issues:
access to justice
sexual orientation and gender identity
violence against women
sexual and reproductive health and rights
migration
*Reading of the Philwomen statement
*Symbolic handing of Philwomen’s Position to a DFA representative
* Motorcade to Embassy of Cambodia
* Reading of Philwomen statement at the Embassy of Cambodia
* Handing of letter and Philwomen’s Position to the Embassy of Cambodia representative

Reminders:

* Please wear a black shirt.
* No individual group flags or banners. Philwomen will represent all participating groups as a single entity.

Background:

November 18-20 will be a momentous event for all citizens of the ASEAN member countries. On these dates, the ASEAN will adopt the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD). The Declaration will serve as the standard of human rights promotion and protection in the Southeast Asian region.

Much to Philwomen’s dismay, the current draft of the AHRD excludes the rights of women, lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, and other marginalized groups. Certain principles in the draft also contain articles that are detrimental to the enjoyment of women’s rights like “national and regional particularities” and “public morality” which lowers the bar for human rights in the region. Similarly, the process by which the AHRD has been drafted lacks transparency and accountability.

This Friday’s mobilization is part of Philwomen’s continuing efforts to demand for non-discrimination, access to justice, women’s rights, and cooperation mechanisms for human rights in the ASEAN.
About Philwomen:

Philwomen on ASEAN is a network of women’s rights advocates and organizations in the Philippines that critically engage and promote women’s rights in ASEAN.

Philwomen is composed of almost 80 organizations working on various issues and representing different sectors from rural and urban poor women, women workers, migrants, lesbians, bisexual and trans women (LBT), women with disabilities, women in education, young women, among others, formed in 2010.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/events/217701481696999/

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