By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA — Human rights activists held a protest action in front of Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City to call for an end to the continuing attacks against women human rights defenders as they commemorate the International Women Human Rights Defenders Day today, Nov. 29.
“The Philippines is a dangerous place for women and women human rights defenders. The situation has aggravated because the Duterte government is hell-bent on protecting the foremost violators of women’s rights – the military and the police,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.
The human rights group, in a statement, said there are 33 women activists killed under the more than two years of the Duterte administration.
More women rights advocates are also being subjected to attacks such as cases of harassment and filing of trumped-up criminal charges, resulting to at least 45 presently behind bars.
Apart from these attacks, Palabay pointed out that no less than President Duterte “spouts demeaning statements against women and actively orders his mercenaries to act with the same disrespect and lack of regard for women’s rights.”
Tanggol Bayi coordinator Gerifel Cerillo clarified that these attacks are “far from isolated” as these are “fueled by a patriarchal and militarist society.”
Tanggol Bayi is an organization of women rights defenders.
Among the gender-bases violence documented is how the Philippine police, the main implementor of the government’s war against illegal drugs, carry out schemes such as sex-for-freedom or “palit-puri.”
Cerillo added, “the ugly situation on the ground cannot be concealed, and the putrid stench of machismo and sexism has permeated the air. This situation is urging us to unite and further strengthen our voices against misogyny and rising tyranny and dictatorship.” (Bulatlat.com)