FLASH MOB: Filipino Women Sing: Bread and Roses!

March 8, 2014 marks the International Women's Day. 

In the Philippines, a group of women rights advocate conducted a Flashmob at exactly 12 noon at Landmark Food Court, Trinoma, Quezon City with a message of "No To Corporate Occupation of OUR Land! No To Occupation of OUR Bodies!"

Photo Credits: Viola Torres


Over 200 Women and supporting men sung Bread and Roses which was followed by a song entitled Babae which was popularized by Inang Laya, a Filipino artist. Some of the participants dressed as fast food workers to blend in with the crowd. Towards the end the song, participants removed their costumes revealing a pink shirt with prints saying "Stop Corporate Land-grabbing!"


Photo Credits: Clydie Pasia


This action is a protest of women against Ayala and other corporations that displace and threaten urban poor communities, a children's hospital, a seedlings bank in Quezon City, as well as farming and indigenous communities defending their lands and now public lands in disaster areas. It is a protest against privatization of public services, too, and the continuing threat against the Reproductive Health Law.



Below is the official press statement of participating organizations:

Press Statement
08 March 2014


No to Corporate Occupation of our Land!
No to Occupation of our Bodies!

Bread and Roses.  Today, International Women’s Day, we continue to demand an end to poverty and landlessness.  We continue to demand for reproductive rights and an end to violence against women.  We mark again another year to celebrate the joys and triumphs of women all over the world. While we rejoice on our accomplishments, this time also obliges us to be more vigilant and more courageous, for we have been witnessing the displacement of urban poor communities, of a children’s hospital, a seedlings bank, the intensification of harassment and intimidation of farming and indigenous communities defending their lands and now the occupation of public lands in disaster areas.  Up to this day, the Reproductive Health Law that was passed after fourteen years of struggle continues to face fierce opposition by the Catholic hierarchy and their fundamentalist allies who have raised objections before our  Supreme Court. 

If the recent accounts of human rights violation in the demolition of an urban poor community in North Triangle, Quezon City is not enough to describe atrocities of public land-grabbing by corporations, what more demonstration must be presented? Displacement of indigenous peoples for commercial grazing and logging? Demolition of fishing communities for beach resorts? In the last 5 days, around 300 farmers have been travelling from Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog to the national capital demanding a stop to land-grabbing and for the government to fully implement agrarian reform.

We urge the government and other influential peoples and institutions to stop privatization of public lands which has done nothing but aggravate women’s oppression. Many accounts of private business intrusions in our forests, foreshore, and public land areas have resulted to numerous accounts of human rights violations, displacements of families and communities, resource conflicts, loss of autonomy, and environmental degradation. Underneath all these atrocities is the truth that women suffer far worse than their male counterparts. Women are easy targets of violence and harassments by government and private security personnel involved in land acquisitions because of the perception that they are weak. Even in the “consultation process” of public land acquisitions, women’s opinions are neglected if not outrightly disregarded. When public lands are turned over to corporations, women and their families are displaced and become deprived of food sources and livelihood. Mothers are left with very limited income opportunities to support their family needs, and young women and girls are rendered vulnerable to human trafficking, prostitution and sexual violence. 

It seems that until now, the current administration turns a blind eye to the fact that these corporate land-grabbers have actually intensified the catastrophe and impact caused by Typhoon Yolanda in ithe Visayas region. Large reclamations, conversion of foreshores into eco-tourist resorts and fishponds, logging concessions, and mining—all these contributed to the destruction of coastal and inland resources of some provinces affected by Yolanda. To date, 3.5 million women and girls of child-bearing age in the affected areas are exposed to threats of human trafficking, prostitution, domestic violence, discrimination, and other risks and vulnerabilities caused by the disaster. But once again, the government betrays us to the business sector. The government, at this very moment, is facilitating “disaster capitalism” in the rehabilitation and recovery of Yolanda-stricken areas. 

Women call on the government to fulfill its obligation to its citizens. Give us peace, equity, equality, and opportunities! Give us bread and give us roses! 

### 

Alliance of Progressive Labor-SENTRO • Bagong Kamalayan • Batis-AWARE • Buklod •  CATW-AP • Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA) • Development Action for Women Network • Filipino Deaf Women Health and Crisis Center (FDWHCC) • Focus on the Global South •  Free Burma Coalition • Freedom from Debt Coalition • Initiatives for International Dialogue • Kababaihan-Pilipinas • KAISA-KA • KAMP • Kasibulan • Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC-KsK/Friends of the Earth-Phils) • LILAK (Purple Action for Women’s Rights) • Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) • Partido ng Manggagawa • PAHRA • Piglas Kababaihan • Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK) • SARILAYA • Transform Asia • WomanHealth Phils. • Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau • Welga ng Kababaihan • Women’s Crisis Center • Youth and Students Advancing Gender Equality (YSAGE) • World March of Women – Pilipinas • numerous courageous individuals
  


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