Gabriela Alliance of Women – Philippines

“Women RISE, Speak out, Sign Up, Dance Against Corruption, Push For Political Reforms”

Last September 12th, women from all social strata converged at the Mehan Garden in Manila, Philippines to raise their voices against the continuing scourge of the pork barrel system and rampant corruption of the Aquino administration.

The gathering’s festive atmosphere belied the seriousness of anti-corruption advocates belonging to One Billion Rising Philippines, Babae Laban sa Katiwalian (BABALA), GABRIELA Alliance, Gabriela Women’s Party and other organizations and individuals as they campaigned for the public to RISE, speak out, sign up, sing and dance against corruption.

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The event introduces the anti-corruption theme and call for system change that the Philippine leg of the One Billion Rising global campaign against violence and other forms of injustice on women will take on for its third year in February 2015 for One Billion Rising Revolution. Dubbed “Women Rising Against Corruption,” the event is by far the biggest anti-corruption gathering of women since the pork barrel scandal erupted in 2013.

One Billion Rising global director Monique Wilson said that government corruption of public money, misappropriation of military budgets, defunding of social services and an extremely corrupted sense of political governance sharply contribute to the rise in social injustice and violence against women and children.
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“A growing number of women are repulsed by the severe corruption in all levels of our government and are rising to speak out and demand accountability and real reforms in our political system. Women, like the rest of our people, want a government that serves not the interest of greed and political patronage but the common good,” said Joms Salvador, Secretary General of GABRIELA.

The women’s gathering in Manila also served as a venue to collect signatures for the People’s Initiative Against Pork (PIAP), a movement that was launched in a multi-sectoral congress in Cebu City last month and rolled out to different cities thereafter.

“Women are actively taking part in gathering more than six million signatures nationwide so we can present the bill for a plebiscite to banish pork barrel, and make sure public funds will be spent for social services, education and housing for women and their families,” Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) Rep. Luz Ilagan said as she helped people write their names on signup sheets that would be submitted to the Commission on Elections at the end of the year.
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The late afternoon gathering featured songs and dances, art displays, puppet plays, and was spiced up with a stand-up comedy act from actress Juana Change. A related morning event included a march by students from the Manila university belt around the city hall to enjoin the public to RISE, speak out and sign up against corruption.

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“We are a women confronted with the most difficult of times. Alongside the battle with scarcity and economic want waged daily by most, we are also up against a pervasive system of institutionalised corruption in almost all levels of government.

We believe that to exorcise the government and our society of the evils of corruption, the people have to take an active stand, unite, speak out and demand what is due to us – a clean and honest government that takes no other orders but from the people.  We want a government that serves not the interest of greed and political patronage but the common good. We want real reforms in our political system and we shall work to achieve this.

As women who have consistently and proudly held the role of safeguarding the formation and upholding of positive values in society, we cannot helplessly stand back as corruption aggressively pervades our political system. We RISE to the challenges of uniting as one people to fight corruption and build a better political system where leaders are true models of good governance and accountability to the people.”