Hail the courageous women of the world and revolution! Celebrate their endeavors and victories by intensifying the fight against imperialist oppression and exploitation!

Patnubay de Guia
NDFP-Southern Tagalog Region
March 8, 2013

We celebrate today International Women’s Day. On this occasion, we honor the Filipino women and all the women throughout the world. Women dare and continue defy convention which society sets concerning roles they must play. They unite and struggle to defend their rights and advance their welfare. Their unity and struggle lend invaluable contribution to emancipate not only their sector but also the entire society from centuries of imperialist oppression and exploitation.

There can be no better ways to commemorate this day but through mass protests and actions. Protests that celebrate struggles of women for equality, justice, peace and development and victories gained thereof; mass actions that voice defiance against a rotten social system and its accompanying oppressive policies.

Filipino women, in particular, bear the double burden of taking care of their families and at seeking employment due to hunger and poverty. Violence against women as well as children remains. The Gabriela alliance of women’s organizations received 1,670 complaints of cases of violence against women (VAW) from January 2010 to September 2012 classified as domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment, child sexual abuse and other forms of VAW such as discrimination in the workplace . These are serious societal problem society tells women and children to hold their peace for, a grim picture of a society that violates basic rights and tolerates violence against fellow human beings when there is a global advocacy to be sensitive even to the feelings of animals.

Women further suffer violence at workplaces. Local and foreign businesses exploit the Filipino working class, largely comprise of women. They receive inadequate wages, have worse working conditions and lack job security. As unemployment rate continue to rise, women risk employment abroad, face gender and racial discrimination.

Peasant women and children, on the other hand, are forced to do labor without adequate compensation or without compensation at all. Their labor, having the same intensity as that of men, are considered supplemental and free. They remain landless, exploited by landlords, oppressed by the state – a reactionary state whose land reforms only serve the interests of big landlords and foreign companies for profit.

The state sanctions the displacement of indigenous women from their ancestral lands to give way to foreign mining ventures. Women and children living in urban poor communities face demolitions without the benefit of proper relocation sites, livelihood and social services.

These are further aggravated by violence unleashed by the state through its counter insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan. State military forces harass and kill women rights and human rights advocates. Extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, and other forms of human rights violations are conducted with impunity. Eden Marcellana, KARAPATAN-Southern Tagalog chairperson, was killed during a fact-finding mission in Mindoro in 2003. Among the 64 political prisoners in the region are 10 women languishing in jail.

These conditions may be far-fetched with that of women in developed countries. But one thing binds women from around the world – the reality and existence of imperialist oppression and exploitation. Due to this, women have been part and at the forefront of social movements – breaking barriers to achieve rights and better life conditions.

Suffering from oppression and exploitation as women and as a class to where they particularly belong, women around the world arouse, organize and mobilize their ranks in the struggle for freedom and democracy. They do not only expose women’s issues but offer solutions to their problems. They destroy boundaries between working for their own sector’s welfare and the welfare of the people.

In the Philippines, women have been at forefront of the struggle against Marcos dictatorship and the succeeding reactionary regimes. Among the revolutionary women in the Southern Tagalog Region who unwaveringly laid down their lives for the people were Comrades Rizalina Ilagan, Cristina Catalla, Emma Trevinio, Maria Theresa de Leon, Raquel Aumentado, Rosemarie Duminais, Pamela Jane LapizMaita Gomez, and many other revolutionary martyrs.

On this day, we take pride in Filipino women; in the spirit of women of the world and revolution who envision a free society they fight so hard and lay their lives for. Generations of oppressed women are no longer silent. They unite, they act, further taking a leap by taking up arms and traversing the revolutionary road to freedom and national democracy. They live not only for themselves or loved ones but for the revolution – carrying strength, power and endless possibilities that emerge only through struggle with the broad toiling people against imperialist oppression and exploitation. For as long as one’s country is not free, all the sectors under it, including women, cannot be free.