Gabriela performs One Billion Rising flash mob vs ‘rape of Motherland’
Members of Gabriela dance the One Billion Rising theme “Isang Bilyong Babae ang Babangon” in the Legarda-Recto intersection to protest the “rape of Motherland.” (PW Photo)
Members of militant women’s alliance Gabriela yesterday protested the US military intervention in the Philippines, as well as the various government policies that adversely affect Filipino women and the people.
And they did it through dance: a flash mob of the One Billion Rising (OBR) anthem “Isang Bilyong Babae Ang Babangon” in the middle of a bustling Legarda-Recto Avenues intersection, near Mendiola Bridge, in Manila.
Gabriela compares the “rape of Motherland” to the abuses of the state and US forces inflicted on women throughout the years. (PW Photo)
In a statement, Gabriela said the protest action kicked off the month-long series of actions, including the global day of dancing and protesting for One Billion Rising on February 14, and will culminate on March 8, the International Women’s Day.
Gabriela Rep. Emmi de Jesus said that they launched the action to protest the Aquino government’s complicity in the US military violations of the country’s national sovereignty and even abuse of women.
“When we rise against violence (in One Billion Rising), what we want to show is primarily state-instigated violence. (This includes) all the policies of the government that opens the gate for (Filipino) women to experience different kinds of violence,” De Jesus said.
She reiterated Gabriela’s call to scrap the PH-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) that reinforces the one-sided relationship between the Philippines and the US. The VFA mainly benefits US interests, De Jesus said.
“Why do we allow the use of Philippine soil for their military exercises when in fact we are not associated with their wars of aggression?” De Jesus asked.
Meanwhile, Nitz Gonzaga of the women’s department of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), said the OBR movement is not only a protest against gender-based violence, but also against the rampant demolition of urban-poor communities as well as the lack of policies that favor workers such as substantial wage hikes, abolition of contractualization of work and others.
Gabriela also criticized the Aquino administration for pushing for the privatization of public hospitals, including the Philippine Orthopedic Center, where many impoverished women and men turn to for medical assistance.
Violence against women comes in many forms, according to Gabriela. One form is the demolition of urban poor communities as well as the privatization of social services. (PW Photo)
According to Dr. Julie Caguiat of Doktor Ng Bayan – Network Opposed to Privatization, public health services under President Aquino is becoming even more privatized and profit-oriented in the country, to the detriment of many women and men who can ill-afford expensive medical care.
This flash mob commenced a series of activities for OBM’s global campaign against violence against women (VAW). In the Philippines, it is led by Gabriela, Gabriela Women’s Party and New Voice Company.
According to Joms Salvador, Gabriela secretary general, there will be similar events leading up to the “main rising” on February 14 at Tomas Morato Avenue in Quezon City, and in different parts of the country.
Gabriela plans to bring the issue of the “rape of Motherland” to the global One Billion Rising event on February 14. (PW Photo)
This event will raise issues such as imperialist plunder, poverty and violence against women. Salvador said the protests will also focus on the “rape of Tubbataha” by the US military, as well as the “rape of the Motherland” through US military, political and economic intervention in the country.
The activity will also raise issues that deeply affect Filipino women and people, including increasing costs of public utilities such as water and electricity, privatization of social services and, of course, increasing VAW cases as economic crisis intensifies.
“Filipino women are joining a billion people in nearly 190 countries next week to protest violence against women, the rape by foreign military troops of our Motherland and our women, and poverty and economic policies that destroy our lives,” Salvador said.
Short URL: http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=22999