In the face of worsening fascist attacks and widespread discrimination of the US-Duterte regime against indigenous people and especially us indigenous women, we fiercely raise our fighting fists in the struggle to uphold, enforce, and defend our rights as indigenous women, national minorities, and as Filipinos.
We in the BAI Indigenous Women’s Network in the Philippines unite with the struggling women in commemorating the International Working Women’s Day, today, March 8, 2018. We join the broad Filipino masses in fighting exploitation, discrimination, tyranny against women and children, and US-Duterte regime’s Charter Change.
Pres. Duterte’s machismo, signified by his repeated offensive pronouncements against women shows the monstrosity of the head of this regime. His latest statement being, “shoot the vaginas of NPA amazons so they could lose purpose.”
Before this, Duterte announced that the Lumad would receive 20,000 pesos for every New People’s Army (NPA) that they kill. But unlike the military and their commander-in-chief, the indigenous peoples are not mercenaries to kill fellow Filipinos for money.
Duterte’s treatment of our fellow women and indigenous people is gravely wrong, unjust, and malicious which deserves to be condemned. He is putting us, indigenous women, in more vulnerable situations. His military and paramilitaries will only intensify their attacks on indigenous women and communities. They will further disrespect indigenous women and commit human rights violations in their military operations.
We are already direct targets of human rights violations under Oplan Kapayapaan, and martial law in Mindanao. We face trumped-up charges, are forced to evacuate due to large-scale military operations and bombings, while our Lumad volunteer teachers and schools are being attacked, and our indigenous leaders and companions are being killed.
Five Igorot women from the Cordillera face trumped-up charges, while a female Lumad teacher in Sultan Kudarat was illegally arrested and imprisoned last February 7, 2018. Meanwhile, three of the 37 indigenous people killed under the Duterte regime were women. Among them, Makenet Gayoran, was four months pregnant when killed by the paramilitary group, NIPAR.
Indigenous women are also victims of massive land-grabbing of thousands of hectares of ancestral land. Multinational corporations, with the Duterte regime as collaborator, push for the neoliberal economic policy “Build, Build, Build” which results in loss of our land, lives and livelihood.
Currently, Pres. Duterte and his cohorts are railroading the charter change to further open our lands, natural resources, social services, and public utilities to total foreign control. With this, Duterte and his allies can monopolize power resulting in a de facto dictatorship. On the other hand, the patrimony, sovereignty, and rights of the indigenous peoples, including our women, will be sacrificed.
It is up to our strength, our unity and collective actions to stop this fascist government from wreaking havoc in our communities and in our womanity. We will continue to fight violence, sexism, exploitation and abuse. We will exhaust all avenues to fight as indigenous women, national minorities, and as Filipino citizens to oppose the anti-people Charter Change and tyranny of the US-Duterte regime. ##