Jo Lapira, OBR activist, youth leader and Gabriela Youth Officer – one of the women brutally murdered by state forces in the Philippines last November 28th. Photo taken at the OBR Manila Rising event last February 14, 2017

One Billion Rising global activists Rise In Solidarity for women’s rights defenders in the Philippines, as reports that three young women – OBR activists in the Philippines – were killed in a military operation by the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines last November 28. This is part of Philippine President Duterte’s crackdown on activists opposed to his strong man rule.

Gabriela National Women’s Alliance – long time One Billion Rising Philippine coordinators and organizers since 2013, have condemned the killings and are demanding an independent probe on the brutal slayings of the young women. GABRIELA is a progressive grassroots women’s alliance of women workers, peasant women, women migrants, teachers, students, children, indigenous women who have long been rising to end all forms of physical, sexual and economic violence against women. This year, as the Philippine President wages a war on drugs, as well as a war against human rights defenders, Lumad (Indigenous peoples), activists, church group, and poor communities – with thousands already killed in his drug war, in his counterinsurgency programs and in his declaration of martial law rule in the region of Mindanao, Southern Philippines – GABRIELA, and the OBR Philippines task force group (a broad alliance of mainly grassroots and marginalized groups from different sectors of society) launched their OBR 2018 campaign with the focus on RISING AGAINST FASCISM AND TYRANNY.

One Billion Rising Rises in solidarity with members of GABRIELA throughout the Philippines and other women’s rights defenders and human rights groups against the political repression they face under the Duterte regime. OBR Rises against state executions, arbitrary arrests, extra judicial killings – and all forms of political repression.

One Billion Rising Rises alongside GABRIELA to demand truth and justice for the killings of the young OBR women activists, and calls on the international community for their support – to hold President Duterte accountable.

We will continue to RISE, RESIST and UNITE against all forms of dictatorial rule, against fascism and tyranny – and against the curtailment of the freedom of women to demand and insist on their democratic rights.

We RISE IN SOLIDARITY for truth, justice and accountability

We RISE IN SOLIDARITY with our young Philippine OBR women activists



GABRIELA calls for probe on the Nasugbu, Batangas incident

GABRIELA grieves with the families of casualties in the military operation by combined elements of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Air Force in Nasugbu, Batangas last November 28. Fifteen persons were killed including young women.

We respect the families’ grief and desire to protect their security by not revealing the names of the victims. We hold the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) responsible for revealing the name of Josephine Lapira, a student leader from UP Manila and officer of Gabriela Youth UP Manila, without the family’s express consent. We denounce the AFP for releasing a photo through Legal Army Wives Facebook page showing Lapira’s dead body on the ground wrapped in bloody blankets. This is contrary to the AFP’s claim that Lapira was brought to a hospital for treatment.

We condemn in the strongest possible terms the brutal manner of their deaths and the desecration of their remains based on first-hand information gathered by our group. All their belongings, even the clothes on their bodies, were taken away by the military and denied their families.

The haphazard handling of the crime scene investigation points to a whitewash, amid initial reports that also point to excessive use of force and overkill on the part of AFP and PNP operatives. It also shows the wanton lack of respect for human rights and International Humanitarian Law by the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Such handling casts doubt on the manner and conduct of the operation, especially since the PNP and AFP are notorious in planting and concocting so-called evidence in order to file trumped-up charges against their numerous victims in their counterinsurgency operations.

We now call on the Commission on Human Rights to immediately conduct a thorough and independent probe on the incident to help the families in their quest for justice. Results of the investigation can be instrumental in filing cases of violations of human rights (HR) and international humanitarian law (IHL) against culpable PNP and AFP units.

We hold President Duterte directly accountable in all these. Through his public shoot-to-kill orders against perceived enemies of the State, he directly provided police, military and paramilitary operations blanket authority to use naked armed attacks against all persons deemed as part of groups opposed to his rule. He has repeatedly assured state security forces that HR and IHL considerations no longer apply and civilians are included in the array of persons to be neutralized. He is allowing the PNP and AFP free rein to create scenarios of “terrorists” or “destabilization” plots to help justify his wild claims and pronouncements. All these set the stage for Pres. Duterte’s purported plan to declare a fascist dictatorship.

In exposing the fascist iron fist of the Duterte government, we encourage the women and the people as a whole to fearlessly expose and oppose dictatorial rule. We must unite and persevere, protest in the streets, and together defend democracy and our constitutional rights against fascism and tyranny.


(Reference: Joms Salvador, GABRIELA Secretary General)


Jo Lapira with Monique Wilson (OBR Global Director) and Joms Salvador (Gabriela Secretary General) at the March 8, 2017 International Women’s Day march in Manila. Jo was an officer of Gabriela Youth, who have been producing the play “The Vagina Monologues” by Eve Ensler all over the Philippines in universities and colleges for several years. Gabriela Youth have also organized One Billion Rising Youth Risings in colleges since OBR began in 2013.


Jo, Monique and Joms with Congressional Representative Emmi De Jesus of Gabriela Women’s Party at the March 8, 2017 International Women’s Day march and protest – where the OBR Rising call of 2017 was reiterated. The banner they are holding reads: Women for Work, Jobs and Peace.

Apart from being One Billion Rising organizers and coordinators in the Philippines and around Southeast Asia, GABRIELA have also been been part of V-Day and “The Vagina Monologues” productions and campaigns for 17 years in the Philippines, since the year 2000 – as co-producers/presenters (with the New Voice Company), beneficiary and as resource group.