by GABRIELA Philippines
November 25, 2011
At the start of the so-called 16 days of activism, the militant women’s group GABRIELA held a protest action in Mendiola on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women to remind the Aquino government that former President Arroyo is yet to account for the violence and injustices of her regime against women. “For nine years, women have become victims of State violence under a woman leader. They are yet to exact justice from Arroyo and now their number is still growing under the Aquino regime. Culture of impunity and violence still reigns under Aquino government through its Oplan Bayanihan,” said Lana Linaban, Secretary General of GABRIELA.
In a short program at Mendiola, the group called for the immediate prosecution of Arroyo for the violence against women of her regime. They cited 153 women and girls killed, 11 abducted and missing, 290 women illegally arrested during the previous regime. “Arroyo’s electoral sabotage case is only a drop in the bucket of crimes against the people. Her record of human rights violations, not just against women, if converted into criminal charges, will make her rot in jail for hundreds of years,” Linaban added.
Linaban said that during Aquino’s more than a year in office, 5 women have already been killed and 32 women political prisoners are still in jail, including Charity Dinio who experienced sexual harassment while undergoing interrogation. Dinio was interrogated by mail captors while wearing only her undergarments. “Many of these women are tortured and sexually abused. State authorities, especially military perpetrators continue to use sexual violence to break women’s determination to struggle and destroy their dignity as a person. The US troops in other countries like Afghanistan and Iraq are similarly employing violence against women,” said Linaban.
She urged the Aquino government to immediately facilitate the release of the 32 women political prisoners languishing in various detention centers nationwide. “These women deserve freedom more than Arroyo. Some of them are already old and sick and yet they are given no special treatment. A true democracy gives the same treatment to its citizens, whether they are former heads of state or ordinary peasant women.”
Earlier, the women’s group held a program at the Manila City co-sponsored with the City Government of Manila to highlight other forms of violence against women. Manila Mayor Alfredo led the ribbon-cutting ceremonies to start the day-long activities which featured a photo exhibit, one-stop-shop services for women-victims (counselling, legal advice, etc.). Linaban encouraged women and even men to take a vow against violence through the award-winning campaign “Bruise” which was featured in the event. “Bruise” won the Grand Prix at the Cannes ACT (Advertising Community Together) Responsible Competition and the recent ARAW awards for campaigns and activation.