Davao’s One Billion Rising 2023 focuses on red-tagging of women leaders

Feb. 22, 2023
RISE FOR FREEDOM. The global campaign One Billion Rising gathers hundreds of participants across Davao Region on Feb. 18 at the Assumption College of Davao as it highlights the fight on various inequalities against women and girl children. (Photo by Bern Pormento/davaotoday.com)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The One Billion Rising gender campaign resumed its face-to-face campaign this year in Davao City as it highlights calls against the red-tagging of women leaders and militarism on campuses.

Around 300 people coming from various groups and institutions gathered at the Assumption College of Davao for the OBR dance and later highlighted human rights issues.

“OBR spotlighted the economic, political, and social inequalities that made women and girls’ lives, especially the poor, hard and difficult,” Sakura Nemis, chairperson of Gabriela Youth Davao.

This year’s theme for the OBR: ‘Rise for freedom’ highlighted the campaign against cases of red-tagging of government critics that manifested violations against freedom and basic rights of different sectors including women and the youth.

“The core of our call is the intensifying attacks on activists, farmers, and workers including the youth and other sectors that have been calling out the failures of our government. We want to stress that the attacks of the NTF-ELCAC are dangerous as it violates our basic rights,” said Cora Espinosa, one of the leaders of Gabriela-Davao.

Espinosa is a victim herself of red tagging in Davao City as the NTF ELCAC in several posts and broadcasts tagged her as a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines and her organization as a communist front.

Gabriela Women’s Party-list 2nd nominee Dr. Jean Lindo and other local members were also identified as members of the New People’s Army. Their faces and names were also posted in different areas of the city several times before and during the pandemic by anonymous groups.

The youth organization Kabataan Party-list raised their concern as their campaign against the resumption of the mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) for college students is responded with red-tagging and surveillance of its leaders inside schools.

Harvey Lao, Kabataan Party-list Vice President for Mindanao stressed the importance of academic freedom and freedom of expression inside the campus which should not be met with harassment.

“It is important as the youth will become the next generation of leaders, next generation of activists, that is why it is important for us to learn from the success in our campaigns and to continue this campaign against the violence against women and children,” Lao said.

The One Billion Rising is a global campaign for gender equality and justice against gender violence with events stage on February 14.  

The campaign is organized by playwright and activist Eve Ensler in 2013. Ensler visited the country in 2016 and visited the Lumad evacuees in UCCP Haran.

Lumad groups and students had joined the OBR and in 2016 created a Lumad song and dance version to highlight the campaign against the militarization of Lumad schools and villages. 

Since 2013, progressive groups in partnership with local barangays led by Gabriela and local gender focal/barangay women councils and other women NGOs and institutions. have actively participated in the global cultural campaign. (davaotoday.com)

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