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Protests highlight Women’s Day in the Philippines

MANILA (UCAN): Women advocates dressed in pink and purple shirts hit the streets of Philippine cities to join protest rallies marking International Women’s Day on March 8.
They sang, danced, and chanted slogans as they marched to demand justice for victims of killings, housing for the poor, equal rights, among other issues.
The protesters demanded justice and accountability for what they described as the slaughter of women under the 21-month-old administration of the president, Rodrigo Duterte.
Human rights group, Karapatan, listed 20 women who reportedly fell victim to government counterinsurgency drives.
“We recall the many more women human rights defenders killed, harassed and jailed by previous regimes who know laws, but never their implementation,” the group said in a statement.
The women’s group, Gabriela, labelled Duterte “the most violent, misogynistic and rabid puppet for pro-foreign interests in the country’s history.”
People kicked and beat an effigy of the president, depicted as a beast with a predatory head and mouth mounted on a dragon-like body, and dressed in a military uniform.
The effigy mimicked attacking members of the media and women protesters as it shimmied along the road to the presidential palace in Manila.
“Women are on the warpath against (Duterte),” said Joms Salvador, secretary-general of Gabriela.
In a speech to businesswomen on the eve of Women’s Day, Duterte said his administration was committed to providing financial assistance to women entrepreneurs.
“I assure everyone that, in line with the theme of this year’s National Women’s Month celebration, the government is supportive of initiatives to Make Change Work for Women,” the president said.
The Philippines took top spot as the country with the highest number of women in management roles based on the latest Grant Thornton International Ltd.’s Women in Business report.
The survey, conducted among more than 4,500 senior executives across 35 countries showed that 46.58 per cent of Filipino women in business hold senior management roles.
Protesters, however, said the neoliberal policies of the government have caused increased poverty, exploitation and discrimination.
“It is thus imperative for women to build movements, aligned with other oppressed sectors in society,” said Cristina Palabay, spokesperson for Karapatan.

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