By Joey Natividad
CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region, 08March2017 (BicolToday.com) – Women’s groups, led by BRAVE-BICOLANA on Wednesday flocked into this city’s main streets as they vowed to continue fighting for women’s rights, job opportunities, peace and freedom from oppression, amid protests raised by progressive blocs as majority of lawmakers in Quezon City have felt elated over the passing of the death penalty bill on Third Reading.
BRAVE-BICOLANA, Gabriela, and various women groups in the city joined the call nationwide to support women’s interests as they celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8.
Nelsy Rodriguez, speaking for the Bicolana group, said they will continue the struggle for strong women’s rights, job security, land, peace and freedom from persecution, discrimination and oppression.
Women’s concerns are also affected by the latest move by the House in railroading the death penalty bill to satisfy the whims of the Duterte Administration to get more teeth in its self-declared drug war.
About 7,000 suspected drug pushers and users died in the ongoing Duterte’s drug war, but most killed came from the urban poor, while the rich drug suspects have remained untouched.
“Duterte’s teeth shall become so plentiful that his mouth cannot hold more than he can,” said an activist in sarcasm, as he reacted over the looming re-imposition of the death penalty.
On Tuesday, the House passed the death penalty bill on Third Reading, 217 Congressmen approved the bill, 54 opposing it, and one abstaining.
Yesterday, Anakbayan, a leading youth group, called the death penalty bill as anti-poor as criminals who are poor will be sent to the death chamber, while the rich criminals can buy leniency.
Karapatan reacted the death penalty might be used for persecution and harassment on political prisoners and dissenters as state police can plant “evidences such as illegal drugs” in arresting them.
The proposed death penalty covers drug-related cases, but their potential legal abuse by the state military and police on arresting dissenters by “planting illegal drugs for evidence and resorting to trumped-up charges” has alarmed civil libertarians and the human rights community.
Progressive sectors suspect the death penalty bill, once it becomes a law, may be used as instrument for repression, paving the road toward fascism.
Another bill, proposals for the National ID system, pending in the House and Senate may also become another instrument for state oppression and repression and serves as tool for amassing wealth through illicit information data management.
The Computer Professionals Union (CPU) warned lawmakers and the public about proposals for the National ID pending in both Houses might be used for data manipulation, intrusion to privacy of individuals, and super police power of the state and spying on citizens.
Rick Bahague, CPU coordinator, cited three main reasons: 1) Loss of individual control over what can be read or placed in the National ID Card and Registry Record; 2) Lack of assurance that personal data will be collected, processed, analyzed, transmitted and accessed for unequivocally specified purposes; and 3) Pretext for super-police powers and political persecution by the State. [BicolToday.com]