The Real SONA: Women Living Dangerously Under GMA

Jul. 24, 2006

MANILA — Living dangerously is the real state of the nation under the Arroyo regime. And it is a total shame that the utmost disregard of women and childrens rights is happening under a woman president. Mrs. Arroyos State-of-the-Nation Address means state of national attack to Filipino omen and children because we are not spared as victims of her regimes all-out war. But, fascism and dictatorial rule are coward acts for a sinking administration.

This was according to the militant womens group GABRIELA during a recent press conference condemning the recent cases of human rights violations against women and children. These cases include the abduction of a lactating mother and her two-month old baby and their present detention in a military camp; the illegal arrests against two GABRIELA leaders and a peasant woman; the abduction and enforced disappearance of two UP students; the militarys cruel treatment and filing of criminal charges against three children; and the most recent shooting of a woman-peasant leader by armed men in motorcycles, even four days before Mrs. Arroyos SONA.

We wonder if Mrs. Arroyo will ever mention about these cases and the real state of human rights during her SONA, said Nanette Miranda-Tampico, GABRIELAs deputy secretary general.

Mrs. Arroyos ever-worsening fascist record affirms that even the presence of international decrees, which state that all necessary steps should be made by State to spare women and children from military abuses and rights violations, do not assure that our rights will be protected, de Jesus added, citing that GABRIELA has monitored thousands of cases of human rights violations (HRVs) victimizing women and children under the Arroyo regime.

Even before the P1 billion additional fund for the AFP, Mrs. Arroyo has already been conducting an all-out war. Largest parts of the HRVs are cases of military harassments and forced displacements where women and children from peasant communities are victimized during the military operations. It is likewise really disturbing that cases of abductions, illegal arrests and detentions, and worst, killings of women and children are increasing, explains Tampico.

Gabriela documented 76 women and 55 children victims of extrajudicial killings under the Arroyo regime, 40 of whom were activists. Based on the distribution on types of killings of women-activists: 26 were killed through summary executions, assassinations and killings, and 11 of massacres. This year from January to July 11 alone, 12 women were killed; 12 in 2001, 11 in 2002, 15 in 2003, 11 in 2004, and 14 in 2005. Three of those killed were pregnant.

Meanwhile, partial list show that 48 women were almost killed since 2001 to April this year. On this data will add the frustrated killing yesterday of peasant leader and university student Madonna Castillo by two armed men in motorcycle. Castillo was shot three times in front of her university in Echague, Isabela province and is in critical condition up to this moment.

There are also 181 individuals who have become victims of abductions and who up to this day remain missing, 27 of which are women and 10 are children. Latest victims are UP students Karen Empeno and pregnant Sherlyn Cadapan who were both abducted on June 26 by alleged elements of the military; and Arlene Rapada, 30, who was abducted by the military in Leyte.

Tampico further explained that in almost all cases of extrajudicial killings, abductions and enforced disappearances, primary suspects were elements of the military and/or paramilitary and death squads.


Meanwhile, GABRIELA calls for the immediate release of Liezl Rentiliosa, 36 years old and a lactating mother, and her two-month-old baby, who were abducted by the military from their house last July 8, and are presently detained inside the military camp in Leyte. The Rentiliosa mother and child were taken by the military in allegation that Liezl was a rebel supporter.

We are outraged against the heartless acts of the military against Liezl and her baby. And, any prolonging of their detention will intensify their vulnerability to other human rights violations. Mrs. Arroyo should act for the immediate release of Liezl and her baby if she is humane enough.

The Arroyo government also resorts to arrest and detentions in order to silence women who are against her, Tampico said, denouncing Arroyo regimes record of more than 150 women victims of illegal arrests and detentions while calling for the release of 18 remaining women political prisoners.

Aside from the Rentiliosas, cases include the arrests and illegal detention of GABRIELA leaders Teresita Posion (former chairperson of GABRIELA in Ormoc City) in May 19 and Clarita Centino (GABRIELA organizer in Ormoc City) in April 28. They were released later but not without criminal charges filed against them. Angie Ipong, 60, who was abducted by the military in March 8, 2005, is the oldest woman political prisoner while Ressel Quinimon, 18, is being detained the longest.

The Childrens Rehabilitation Center (CRC) also presented during the press conference the case of three minors who were physically manhandled by the military in Southern Tagalog and were filed with criminal charges.

The grave human rights record of the Arroyo regime deserves the highest condemnation of all Filipino women. Thus, we call for all women to defend human rights. Let Mrs. Arroyos deprivation of our right to life be our source of strength to oust this rotten and despicable regime, Tampico concluded, as GABRIELA vows for the mobilization of thousands of women on July 24th SONA.

Reference: NANETTE MIRANDA-TAMPICO, GABRIELA deputy secretary general, 3712302

comments powered by Disqus