Woman planter wants better gender, economic treatment

Mar. 10, 2019

Miriam Roda (Ken E. Cagula/davaotoday.com)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – “Pag makigbisog ta, naa gyud tay makab-ot ana.” (“We would have our goals achieved if we struggle.”)

From Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte, Miriam Roda, along with her fellow union members, travelled to this city to join other women in a protest rally on Friday, March 8. She chose to be in the picket line that day, in solidarity with other toiling women commemorating the International Women’s Day.

Roda is a member of the United Pantaron Banana Workers Union, a local union in the banana plantation owned by an Arabian company.

She’s among hundreds of workers who process daily the harvested bananas to be exported to other countries. But, just like most of her coworkers, Roda’s still not recognized as a regular employee.

“Tulo na siya [President Rodrigo Duterte] ka tuig naglingkod, pero ang kontraktwalisasyon nagpabilin pa gihapon hangtod karon,” Roda said. (He’s already in his third year, but the contractualization remains up until today.)

Their union, with over 100 members, lamented that the company refused to sign in a collective bargaining agreement between them.

These are hard times, she also said, noting the price of basic commodities are shooting up, which the progressive labor organizations have blamed on the implementation of Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law. She admitted that her income will not be enough to meet both ends for her family.

“Mao nang nisalmot mi aning ani nga mga panawagan, tungod sa kamahal sa palitonon. Sakit gyud alang sa gastosan nato sa inadlaw adlaw.” (“That’s why i joined with this endeavors, because prices of commodities are surging today.It’s really painful fir our daily budget,”

From a history of militant actions to fight low wages and poor working conditions back in 1908, women workers today continue to struggle for their basic rights.

Gabriela Women’s Party second nominee Bai Ali Indayla said all women from different organizations have been standing up against oppression and yet many “are still tied up in chain even in the modern days”.

In the Philippines, she added, the Duterte administration continued to implement policies noted to be aligned with that of the United States “that further pushed Filipinos to crisis”.

“Makatarunganon nga militante ang ipakita nga pagsaulog sa adlaw sa mga kababaenhan, kay nasayod kita nga maong giila ang katungod sa mga babae tungod sa militanteng pagsukol sa mga kababaenhan sa kawalay hustisya sa pagtratar kanila ug sa pagkawalay angay angay sa atoang katilingban,” Indayla said. (It’s rightful for us to show militancy in commemorating this day for women because our rights were recognized through the struggle of our sisters to fight the injustices against us and to the society,)

In Mindanao, women are also faced with the martial rule declaration by the govenment that pave the way for more violence against women.

She noted that those, including women, who stood up and protested “are branded as terrorists”. (davaotoday.com)

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