1,000 women in the Philippines take to streets to demand justice, pay hike

AROUND 1,000 women are expected to march today demanding for basic welfare and substantial wage increase in time for the centennial commemoration of the International Working Women’s Day.

“More than nine months as President, we know nothing significant has been done by the Aquino government to alleviate the situation of half of the population of our women, Lyda Canson, chairperson emeritus of Gabriela-Davao,” said in a statement.

Gabriela, along with the Kilusang Mayo Uno and Kilusan ng Manggagawang Kababaihan and Samakana (urban-poor women’s organization ), will lead today’s activity which will be highlighted with a rally starting at 1 p.m. at the centennial park and will end at Freedom Park along Roxas Avenue.

Nenita Gonzaga, KMU vice-chairperson for women’s affairs, said they are asking for an immediate increase of wage to alleviate the daily expenses of basic commodities.

The suffering being borne by women workers has increased steadily in recent years and also in recent months. “There was no significant hike in our wages for the more than nine years under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, while prices have continuously increased to record-high levels during the same period,” said Gonzaga in a statement.

They also criticized the policy of labor contractuali-zation being espoused even by big companies and multinationals in the country. “Capitalists and the government have in recent years promoted contractualization as a way to further press down wage levels. Contractuals are denied the wage and benefits, the job security, and the exercise of trade-union rights that the law at least
theoretically guarantees to regular workers,” Gonzaga said.

The first International Toiling Women’s Day was proclaimed in 1911, to mark the role of the women in the industrial revolution and celebrate the gains of the women who marched to the streets to fight for their rights and welfare. During that time, the exploitation of women and children in the factories, in the fields and in their homes fed the industries and allowed it to flourish, the Gabriela statement said.

Also, in commemoration of the centenary of the International Working Women’s Day, Gabriela together with the the March 8 Convenors, will hold a women’s parade and cultural program dubbed “PNOY Kami ang Boss Mo! Kababayen-an Pakigbisugan! Yuta, Trabaho, Katilingbanong Serbisyo!”.



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