Migrante Europe IWD 2019
March 8, 2019
Today, hundreds of thousands of women from the grassroots, of different races and backgrounds will lead the march, their shouts are even more powerful and they become multitudes in number, the streets and plazas will be blanketed by their rages, they are fed up of social inequality, chauvinism and misogyny and their fight continues.
In the Philippines, every day is a sad story for women: governed by a tyrant and fascist President, the overwhelming majority suffer unimaginable poverty, they are made vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, and they are being attacked and killed. President Duterte’s war on drugs is a nightmare to everyone. The death toll has risen to more than 23,000 and the number of victims continues to escalate. Grieving wives & mothers have become a daily scene in the news, on the tabloids, television and the social networks.
To add insult to injury, Duterte’s “war on terror” is a “war on the poor people.” During the Marawi siege in 2017, resulted to casualties of more than 1,000 people, whilst displacing more than 200,000, majority of whom were women and children. The city in Southern Philippines was totally devastated, including homes and livelihoods of the people. The said conflict has been used as an excuse to declare and extend martial rule in the whole island of Mindanao. The prolongation of Martial Law in Mindanao will mean more abuses, tortures, mass arrests, and extrajudicial killings.
For almost three years of Duterte in power, the Philippines economy has become much worse. Neoliberal policies have maintained if not expanded – leaving the country stunted and underdeveloped, import-dependent and export-oriented, subservient and dominated by foreign capitalists, in particular, the US, and now China. A case in point is the The Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion or TRAIN Law – a regressive and anti-poor legislation that will further push people to extreme poverty to the tune of 21.9 million Filipinos. This utter desperation has resulted to the daily deployment of 5,460 OFWs as cheap and docile labour to the global market (IBON FOUNDATION, Jan. 2019).
Exploitation and discrimination experienced by Filipino migrant women.
Filipinos in Europe, particularly women are vulnerable to exploitation, discrimination, and abuse. Many of them are especially exposed to violent and insecure working conditions as exemplified by myriad of cases of sexual abuse and physical injuries that have been reported to Migrante Europe and member organizations in the region.
Migrante and Gabriela Chapters in Europe have been handling increasing number of cases of battered women and recently, sex slavery.
Many Filipinos work as domestic helpers and caregivers, dubbed as the most “in demand” (read: dirtiest) jobs in many countries in Europe. Cases of long hours of work, low wages and unpaid benefits and constant maltreatment have been documented by migrant advocacy groups.
Women events and collective action for March 8.
In Rome, the Gabriela Rome Chapter and friends danced the 1 Billion Rising “Ang Bangon na sa Rebolusyon,” and “Break the Chain” in Sentro Filipino Catholic Chaplaincy last Sunday, 3rd March.
Today, In Brussels, Belgium, trade union members and workers’ advocates joined the “Women Strike on the Street.”
The Gabriela Germany joined the women march and mobilization in Berlin.
On March 17, the Women Committee of Migrants in Italy will once again gather in a cultural event to be participated by different migrant organizations in Rome including UMANGAT-Migrante and Gabriela Rome Chapter.
On the same day, Filipino women will rise and “speak up” in the most awaited launching of Gabriela London in the United Kingdom.
In these challenging times, where women issues are a global concern, it is an urgent call for every woman and for every Filipino to break the chains of silence, exploitation, and discrimination and collectively rage, rise and fight on all fronts until victory is achieved. ###
Secretary General, Migrante Europe
Rev. Father Herbert Fadriquela Jr.
Chairperson, Migrante Europe