Thousands of members of APL Women joined the World March of Women rally in Manila and other urban areas around the country in commemorating the 100th year of International Women's Day.
“Today, we celebrate the collective victories of women all over the world,” Maritess Gurion, APL Women leader, said. “We thank the sisterhood that brought for many women the right to suffrage and laws that recognizes our equal rights,” she added.
“But we do not forget that gender gaps continue to exist. We are aware that capitalism, patriarchy and other oppressive structures are incessantly undermining our hard-won rights and welfare,” Gurion said.
The Filipino women's right to vote, first exercised in 1937, is constantly undermined by an electoral system where vote-buying, dagdag-bawas and money-politics predominate. Meanwhile, the decades-long flirtation of the government with market-oriented policies – privatization, deregulation and liberalization, a.k.a. neoliberalism – begot an intractable jobs crisis that pushed more and more people, women in particular, into poverty.
“The fact that gender gaps persist 25 years after the fall of the Marcos dictatorship is enough proof that neoliberalism is a complete failure,” Gurion said.
What is needed is an alternative development paradigm. “Sadly, the current MTPDP for 2011-2016 is sorely lacking in imagination, as it seems to merely provide a slightly updated version of the same old neoliberal prescriptions,” Gurion said.
The draft MTPDP is still primarily hinged on exporting our way out of poverty even if the prospects for full recovery of our major trading partners are still uncertain. It would continue to promote labor flexibility as it aims to be globally competitive using the WB's “Doing Business Index”, which gives low ratings to countries with rules upholding security of tenure. Worst, the MTPDP intends to deliver its promises of housing, shelter and other social services through the dubious public-private partnership program or PPP.
“The current draft of the ‘Empty-PDP' is unacceptable,” Gurion declared. “It is a perfect recipe for sustaining the country's historic poverty. And in a patriarchal society, women would always be the first victims of poverty,” she added.
“It is for this reason that we reaffirm our commitment to the unrelenting struggle to rid the world of patriarchy and capitalism,” Gurion declared.
APL-Women led women's marches in the streets of Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro and General Santos and Cotabato as well.