By Reynard Magtoto
LEGAZPI CITY (BicolToday.com) — In commemoration of International Women’s Day on March 8, mascot of Senatoriable Neri Colmenares marched with Bicolana—Gabriela along other women’s rights advocates from Peñaranda Park, Old Albay District to Rizal Park, Legazpi City to call for the end of violations against women and children and expose those candidates in 2016 elections who violate their rights.
“Let’s be alert and active in fighting the machineries of Aquino administration exploiting women and children, including violence, using public funds and widespread electoral fraud,” said Jen Nagrampa, secretary general of Bicolana—Gabriela.
According to Bicolana—Gabriela, voters must be wise enough to choose the right partylist that truly represents their sector and Senator that will fight for their rights and will not sell them to foreign lands. “Let’s exercise our constitutional right to vote during election,” Nagrampa added.
Brutal rape by state agents
According to Center for Women’s Resources (CWR) study, one women or child is raped every 53 minutes while women are battered every 16 minutes. Seven in 10 victims of rape are children.
Based on CWR’s estimate, recorded rape cases increased by 92% from 5, 132 in 2010 to 9, 875 in 2014. “Despite more than 37 laws, executive and administrative orders pertaining to protect women and children, the victims of violence are getting younger and abusers are becoming bolder and harsher,” observed Jojo Guan, CWR’s executive director.
PNP-WCPD 2014 recorded 2, 636 different cases of harassments against women and children in Bicol region alone, Albay with highest followed by Camarines Sur.
“These cases are increasing because of the impunity whereas the perpetrators are the state agents like police, CAFGU or armies, especially implementing Oplan Bayanihan in Bicol,” Nagrampa said.
Guan of CWR agreed that the culture of impunity prevailed in the crimes committed by state authorites and “not a single soldier was charged and penalized for these brutal acts,” she said.
Human Rights group Karapatan showed that from June 2010 to November 2015, there were 10 reported cases of military rape. One of these cases involved a 21-year-old woman in Aroroy, Masbate in 2010.
In the country, 1.03 million women are unemployed while 2.2 million are under-employed. Bicol remains 7th as the poorest region in the country. In daily wage of 250—300 pesos of a Bicolano worker, there is a big gap in Php 1, 088 daily family living wages. Most of them are still working for 180 — 250 pesos per day.
Labor Contractualization, stated by Kabataan Partylist first nominee Sarah Elago, has directly resulted to the depression of wages, the loss of job security, and the continued violation of labor rights. She noted that even if the Labor Code of the Philippines requires employers to regularize their employees after serving six months, various schemes have been implemented by businesses and companies to go around this rule.
“Gender discrimination in the workplace, coupled with intensified contractualization easily target women workers and push them to further destitution,” Elago said in a statement. “Thus, the fight against contractualization is a fight for women’s labor rights”.
Women challenge the aspiring candidates in the coming 2016 elections to look into the abuses and the culture of impunity. “Women want to choose leaders who have the political will to punish the perpetrators so that the victims will get the justice they deserve,” added Guan. [BicolToday.com]