One billion rising 2016 highlights local issues of violence in nationwide risings

February 8, 2016

One billion rising 2016 highlights local issues of violence in nationwide risings

By Gabriela

OBR 2016

“Listen. Act. Rise.” Image from Kenneth Guda/Pinoy Weekly

On its fourth year, the One Billion Rising (OBR) Philippine campaign is a virtual indictment of the Aquino government’s neglect of violence against women, particularly how increasing poverty and the absence of state accountability has led to an escalation of violence against women. “On Aquino’s nearly six years in power, more and more women have become vulnerable to various forms of violence and abuse because of poverty and the still unaddressed culture of impunity. The risings thus continue to spread in various Philippine cities to highlight their local issues of VAW,” said Joms Salvador, Secretary General of GABRIELA Philippines, the lead convenor of the OBR Philippine Campaign.

Salvador cited that in Tacloban City, after the super typhoon Yolanda, extreme poverty coupled with Aquino government’s neglect of the issue of violence for victims led to an increase in prostitution. “Foreign aid workers and foreign troops who flocked in Tacloban for the relief and rehabilitation operations served as clientele to the booming flesh trade.” Tacloban will hold its OBR event on February 10, with playwright, activist and OBR founder Eve Ensler as special guest.

In Aklan, Salvador added, about 40% of women from coastal barangays has turned to prostitution and flocked to nearby Boracay island as a result of a slump in the fish trade following a red tide infestation. “Meanwhile, in Roxas City, home province of Liberal Party Presidential bet Mar Roxas, the phenomenon of “buy one, take one” has proliferated where for PhP 50.00 a “client” could have two prostituted women. Is this the Daang Matuwid that he vows to continue?” Roxas City will rise simultaneous with the presidential aspirant’s proclamation rally in the city on February 9. Iloilo and Aklan will also hold their OBR event the same day.

Another rising which will have Ms. Ensler as special guest is in Cebu where the prevalence of cybersex victimizing girls remains unabated. “Every year, we monitor news reports of raids on cybersex dens, involving foreign pedophiles as clientele. But still Cebu remains to be one of the top cities hosting cybersex dens.” Children as young as 2 years old are among the victims of this vile trade.” Cebu will hold its OBR at the provincial capitol on February 11.

During Aquino’s term, the incidence of violence against women and children increased drastically. The Center for Women’s Resources cited that reports of rape increased by 92% from 2010 to 2014 while domestic violence or violation of the Anti-VAWC Act increased by 219% in the same duration. “What is worse is that many cases also involved persons of authority and many of them remain unpunished or merely given a slap on the hand,” said Salvador.

The campaign on violence against women and children has been the centerpiece of GABRIELA’s advocacy for women’s rights and welfare and the One Billion Rising Campaign served to widen its reach even to local government units from provincial down to the barangay level. “This year, we are maximizing the national elections to ensure that the protection of women and children from violence will be part of the platform of those seeking office. The popularity of the OBR campaign will hopefully not only push women and children to report abuse but also hold accountable the Aquino administration and prevent his heirs to the Daang Matuwid from continuing the culture of impunity, on violence against women and children,” Salvador ended. ###

Reference: JOMS SALVADOR, Secretary General (0918 9182150)/Public Info Desk (3712302)