Karapatan and Tanggol Bayi Statement on the Commemoration of the International Women’s Day

Today, March 8, 2018, as the world commemorates International Women’s Day, Karapatan and Tanggol Bayi joins Filipino women in marching and standing up against State repression and all forms of human rights violations and gender-based violence.




Karapatan and Tanggol Bayi remembers the 20 women killed in line with the Duterte regime’s counterinsurgency program. They are Emerenciana Dela Rosa, Violeta De Leon, Makenet Gayoran, Jessybel Sanchez, Rita Gascon, Leonila Pesadilla, Nurmayda Abbi, Arlene Almonicar, Cora Lina, Crisanta Petalco, Lolita Pepito, Rechely Luna, Ana Marie Aumada, Carolina Arado, Catalina Castro, Thelma Albanio, Dalia Arrabis, Grace Merilla, Elisa Badayos, and Jennirose Porras.


We demand justice and accountability for the many more women slaughtered under Duterte’s war on drugs, among other anti-people policies. We recall the many more women human rights defenders killed, harassed and jailed by previous regimes who know laws, but never their implementation; who give lipservice, but have been the staunch defenders of the status quo.


We live in very dangerous, difficult times. In the face of a murderous regime that knows no shame, the country continues to be steeped in poverty, puppetry to foreign interests such as that of the US, and repression and oppression in different forms. The Duterte regime has been accustomed to demeaning and verbally assaulting women on live television, objectifying women, and openly inciting violence against them. Indeed, the likes of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and the President himself, who hold top positions, are instruments in reproducing and normalizing a society that that is mired with gender-based violence, political repression and oppression – targeting women who resist while ensuring the majority remain in their dire political and economic state.  


Political repression and gender-based violence are not the only barriers faced by women today. Neoliberal policies aggressively peddled by the Duterte regime has led to increased poverty, exploitation, and discrimination that is actively reinforced by political and economic institutions and policies. Multiple burdens hound women – as mothers, wives, unpaid family workers, underpaid contractual employees and other forms of oppression that bind women in a cycle of poverty and disempowerment.


It is thus imperative for women to build movements, aligned with other oppressed sectors in society. It is in the collective strength of women and the people that we have triumphed over dictators and patriarchal systems that have diminished us for a long time. We take courage from the women who have lived, resisted and fought before us; and march alongside those who continue to fight for a just society.


A famous movie articulated that rebellion and resistance is built on hope. Our steadfast determination to continue fighting in the trenches of the struggle despite the incessant repression and oppression is our resistance. We are not terrorists or enemies of the state; we are women who have come together to defeat a macho-fascist and tyrannical regime, and demand justice and accountability.