Tomorrow, April 30, 2016, is the 79th anniversary of Filipino women’s suffrage. We cannot allow our gains to be pushed back, especially by national candidates like Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
We want change — the comprehensive and wide-ranging kind of change. Like majority of Filipinos, we are disgusted with the failures of the present government, of this “tuwid na daan”. But we believe Duterte will not bring about this change. He presents himself as alternative, riding on the disgust of Filipinos, but does not carry a platform that will bring about this change, beyond rhetoric. He was bred by the same political system of mis-governance.
We want an alternative to the current political system and neo-liberal economic paradigm that continue to marginalize and further impoverish women and the basic sectors of farmers and workers. While his platform does not have substance at all, he insults, mocks, and objectifies women. He continues to reinforce sexist thinking among men, as he did before the Makati Business Club, further justifying his privilege to come before others in violating a woman.
There are women who continue to support candidate Duterte, let them answer to their own consciences, but we the undersigned cannot look into a mirror and continue to call ourselves women’s rights advocates and feminists if we support Duterte and the kind of leadership he represents. Change should not mean going back to the age of barbarism against women, to the time of the slave-owning patriarchs. Filipino women have suffered so much political, social, and economic marginalization in the past, but we have overcome these challenges and made significant advances in our fight for women’s rights–with men too who have stood with us in our struggles. A Duterte presidency will negate these hard-won triumphs.
Men are also signing on as they are not born to abuse but many have grown critical of society’s sexist upbringing. They add their voices to the rejection of candidates who objectify and marginalize women.
We too aspire for an election where there is true choice for president. We want a NEW leader in the truest sense of the word, and it is disappointing, to say the least, that there is no genuine choice for such leader in the current elections. Our vote should not be a vote of desperation for somebody like Duterte, a fake alternative with nothing to offer but his sexist jokes and blatant disregard for women and human rights. Scratch the surface and his so-called tapang is nothing but machismo, hiding behind jokes at the expense of women. How can he have malasakit if he plans to resort to extrajudicial killing for the poor and helpless, as seen in the victims of his death squad?
Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC)
Focus on the Global South
Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA)
LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights)
Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO)
Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau (WLB)
World March of Women – Pilipinas (WMW-Pilipinas)
Workers for People’s Liberation
Youth for Nationalism and Democracy
Viol De Guzman