Gabriela USA welcomes Rodrigo Duterte as the newly inaugurated 16th President of the Philippines, and joins millions of women in calling for change.
“Women in the Philippines suffered unemployment, landlessness, violence and state sponsored repression for six long years under the previous Aquino administration and we are hopeful that President Duterte will address the concerns of women and their communities,” stated Gabriela USA Chairperson Irma Bajar.
Gabriela defined the key concerns of the women’s sector upon conclusion of its National Women’s Summit in Davao City, Mindanao. The summit brought together 250 women from across the Philippines, representing such sectors as peasants, workers, urban poor, professionals, and indigenous women. Attendees of the summit drew up a Women’s Agenda to reflect the calls that the women’s sector urges President Duterte to take up in his first 100 days of administration and beyond. The Women’s Agenda for CHANGE outlines six key points: C in CHANGE stands for [C] Comprehensive social services, [H] Human Rights and social justice, [A] Anti-discrimination and anti-violence on women and children, [N] National Sovereignty, [G] Genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization and [E] Environmental protection.
Gabriela USA applauds Duterte’s willingness to dialogue with people’s organizations to bring about change and his appointment of progressive leaders to several positions within his administration. The recent appointment of Liza Maza, the former Chairperson of Gabriela and Congressional Representative of Gabriela Women’s Party, as Lead Convenor for the National Anti-Poverty Commission, will serve as an important voice in government to defend and uphold the interests of women and of the Filipino people in general.
“This is an exciting time for our kababayan – not only because there are progressives serving in important roles in the new administration but because of the resumption of peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines,” stated Bajar. “We must continue to support the peace negotiations because through those talks, the roots of our people’s suffering can be addressed and we can build a truly independent Philippines where people can have decent livelihood and where the rights of the people are upheld.”