Women’s groups to hold march, rally in Davao City

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/07 March) — Some 1,000 women belonging to progressive groups are expected to march and hold a rally here Tuesday, the centennial commemoration of the International Working Women’s Day, to demand government attention to issues affecting their sector.

Gabriela, Kilusang Mayo Uno and the Kilusan ng Manggagawang Kababaihan and Samakana, an urban poor women’s organization, said they will call on the government to implement substantial wage increase and scrap the labor-contracting scheme.

The march will start at 1 pm in front of the city hall and proceed to Claveria Street.

“Capitalists and the government have in recent years promoted contractualization as a way to further press down wage levels. Contractuals are denied the wage and benefits, the job security, and the exercise of trade union rights that the law at least theoretically guarantees to regular workers,” Nenita Gonzaga, vice chairperson for women’s affairs of the Kilusang Mayo Uno said.

“The suffering being borne by women workers has increased steadily in recent years and also in recent months. There was no significant hike in our wages for the more than nine years under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, while prices have continuously increased to record-high levels during the same period,” said Gonzaga in a statement.

Meanwhile, Cora Espinoza, vice chairperson of Gabriela and head of Samakana, accused the 10th Infantry Division of tagging children as child combatants and harassing civilians in some areas of the city as part of Oplan Bayanihan, the military’s latest counterinsurgency strategy.

“Sa pagsuroy-suroy sa military dira sa komunidad nga daw mga pastol nga nay maayong pamatasan, ang ila lang interes mailhan kinsa miyembro sa Gabriela, Samakana, o uban pang mga progresibong partylist ug dayon ilang hasion,” (The military is going around the communities like meek sheep but in reality they only wanted to know who the members of Gabriela, Samakana and other progressive groups are, and then they will harass them) Espinoza said.

Last year, three complaints were filed before the Commission on Human Rights against members of the 84th Infantry Battalion for allegedly stationing soldiers in houses in Bago in order to restrict the movement of civilians.

“I can no longer sleep thinking that we might be caught in the crossfire between the soldiers and the New People’s Army,” said Jennifer Jaranilla, member of the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap and one of the three complainants.

She was accompanied by the other two complainants, Nanay Bering Liguid and Amaliza Castigador, in filing the complaints.

Jaranilla claimed the soldiers were constantly monitoring their houses and telling them to quit groups identified with the Left. She said the monitoring only stopped when other members of progressive groups came to help them. (MindaNews)