By JORGE MADLOS (Ka Oris)
Spokesperson, NDFP Mindanao Chapter
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Mindanao gives praise to all toiling Filipino women on the celebration of International Women’s Day, saluting revolutionary women in particular for their perseverance in consistently carrying forward the struggle for genuine women’s liberation along the line of the national democratic revolution.
The exploitation and oppression of women continues to intensify under the present semi-feudal and semi-colonial system, which is perpetuated by US imperialism and its local lackeys whose current handpicked head of state, Benigno Aquino III, treats women like objects. Filipino women suffer greatly under a social order that perpetuates women as passive, inferior, decorative members of society and domestic slaves, given only tokenistic recognition of their rights, unheeding to the struggles of their sector.
In the Mindanao countryside, empowered women play an active role in the campaigns to advance the minimum program of the revolutionary agrarian reform, securing some economic gains for the communities and women position in the budding revolutionary local organs of political power. Women Communist Party members are highly dedicated in their service to the people’s revolution. They occupy leadership positions in guerrilla fronts, platoon committees of the New People’s Army and revolutionary mass organizations. Brave women Red commanders and fighters have excelled in many tactical offensives launched by the NPA.
The aggressive expansion of large-scale plantations in Mindanao, such as those owned by agri-giants Dole, Del Monte and Sumifru, aggravate the suffering of women peasants and agricultural workers. In the face of widespread people’s resistance, however, these multinationals are hindered from their usual operations of exploitation and expansion. These profit-hungry monopolies rely on naked fascism to rid themselves of these hindrances. But, women peasants have shown extraordinary daring in the fight against massive land grabbing, militarization and environmental destruction. They are the inspiration of women commanders and Red fighters who have participated in NPA punitive actions against these companies.
Women workers suffer even more by receiving inhuman wages and labouring under extremely poor conditions. In urban areas, more and more women are unemployed and forced to leave their children and families behind in search of better-paying albeit demeaning jobs overseas. Thousands of youths are compelled to stop their schooling because of the Aquino III regime’s utter disregard for their wellbeing by grossly misusing the budget supposedly allotted for basic social services especially for education, pushing women youth to the brink of hopelessness and misfortune. As it is, many Filipino families suffer from hunger, destitution, and are often veered towards criminality and other forms of anti-social activities.
Women and children in areas hit by supertyphoons, such as the recent typhoons Sendong, Pablo and Yolanda, are predisposed to hunger and deprived of shelter and sources of livelihood. Up to now, aid for relief and rehabilitation from the reactionary government remain meagre; the lives of millions in typhoon-hit areas have not recovered an inch ever since the tragedy. Similarly, hundreds of women and their children continue to reap the dire effects of the reactionary state’s militarist handling of last year’s Zamboanga siege. Due to government neglect, the evacuees have continue to have no homes to return to; a number have died of illnesses in the evacuation area, and, as reports have it, some have fallen victim to rape and other forms of crime and harassment.
Bangsamoro women, for their part, must be critical of recently signed Agreement on the Bangsamoro between the MILF and the GPH because, contrary to what has been declared by the Aquino III government, this so-called peace pact cannot guarantee their liberation from the traditional bondage feudal exploitation, oppression and chauvinism. They must never allow the reactionary government to render worthless the gains of the armed struggle of the Moro people, which they have waged for decades for the realization of their right to self-determination.
The US-Aquino regime is without doubt anti-people and anti-women. The interests of its own class and its imperialist master shamelessly take precedence over the interests of its own people. The policies and programs of Aquino III’s administration only serve to aggravate the exploitation and oppression of the Filipino people, most especially women. It is only necessary therefore to strengthen efforts at arousing and organizing millions of women for an organized struggle in the assertion of their rights and welfare.
The national democratic revolution on the other hand fully recognizes the rights of women and struggles for their genuine liberation. And to achieve them, armed revolution has been recognized as the only enduring path. Many Filipino women have responded to the call of the revolution and organized themselves into the MAKIBAKA, an allied revolutionary organization of women in the NDFP.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, we call upon all women and the people in general to join the growing movement for the ouster of Benigno Aquino III. Amplify the call: Oust Aquino III now!
We also call on more women to join the ranks of women cadres and revolutionaries in the countryside as their great contribution to further the advancement of the women struggle for liberation and the attainment of the eventual victory of the people’s war towards socialism.