Group highlights women’s struggles under Marcos Jr.

By Julianne Judilla

In a press conference on July 11, Gabriela, a prominent Filipino women’s alliance, presented their “State of the Women Address,” drawing attention to the ongoing challenges faced by women under the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Representatives from Visayas and Mindanao chapters gathered to discuss the dire situation women are enduring three years into Marcos Jr.’s term.

Clarice Palce, Secretary-General of Gabriela, painted a grim picture: “The reality for millions of Filipino women, especially in Visayas and Mindanao, remains bleak. Women across the country continue to grapple with widespread poverty, unemployment, lack of social services, violence, and intensifying state fascism.”

Lucy Francisco of Gabriela-Panay and Guimaras spoke about the severe socio-economic crisis affecting women in her area, while Bebe Alliere of Gabriela-Cebu and Marden Jalando-on of Gabriela-Negros addressed the negative impacts of development projects.

They criticized the privatization of Cebu’s Carbon Market and Bacolod’s BACIWA, along with land reclamation in Bacolod’s urban poor communities, as detrimental to women’s livelihoods and access to basic services.

Rose Hayahay of Gabriela Southern Mindanao highlighted the increasing attacks on women human rights defenders.

“The fascist attacks on women who dare to speak up against injustice have escalated under Marcos Jr.’s administration. We are victims of red-tagging, terrorist-labeling, extreme surveillance, and harassment, among other human rights violations,” Hayahay reported.

Emmi de Jesus, former Congresswoman of Gabriela Women’s Party, concluded the event by acknowledging recent legislative victories, such as the passage of the Absolute Divorce Bill.

However, she also raised concerns about foreign military presence in the Philippines, which she argued threatens both national sovereignty and women’s safety.

“As we approach his third SONA, Gabriela demands concrete action, not empty rhetoric. We call for genuine land reform, national industrialization, and an end to all forms of violence against women,” de Jesus asserted.

Gabriela called on the public to join the upcoming People’s SONA on July 22 to advocate for these urgent issues.

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