One Billion Rising stands in solidarity with GABRIELA and all activists in the midst of the recent spate of attacks against human rights in the Philippines. We condemn the illegal arrest of Cora Agovida, GABRIELA Manila Chairperson and fellow One Billion Rising (OBR) activist.
At 5:00 am on October 31, around 15 to 20 elements of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of the Philippine National Police and the Manila Police District forced their way into Cora’s home. Bearing search warrants issued by Judge Cecilyn Burgos-Villavert of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 88, members of the raiding team ordered the couple and their children’s caregiver to drop to the floor and brought their children, ages 10 and 2, outside, while they searched the family’s belongings and planted a .45-caliber pistol, two grenades and fake IDs bearing Cora’s picture in the family’s house. Cora and Tim were then brought to the Manila Police District station. Their children were also forcibly taken and brought to the Manila Reception and Action Center, a government-run “shelter” for street children.
OBR also condemns the simultaneous raids conducted by the CIDG-PNP on the offices of Gabriela, Bayan Muna and the National Federation of Sugar Workers in the afternoon of of the same day. The raiding teams planted firearms and explosives in the offices, arrested 62 people, and forcibly took minors whose parents were among those arrested. The raids were carried out based on spurious search warrants also issued by Quezon City Judge Burgos-Villavert.
We call for the immediate release of those arrested in the raids. We vehemently condemn the use of spurious search warrants to orchestrate raids and mass arrests based on fabricated evidences against members and leaders of legitimate people’s organizations. We condemn in the strongest possible terms the Duterte government’s continuous attacks against women and the Filipino people and its implementation of Executive Order No. 70 and the operation of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) which has unleash deadly attacks against activists in the Philippines.
GABRIELA has led one of the biggest OBR protests and it is one of the largest and most active women’s organizations in the Philippines and even globally that has for the past 35 years consistently fought for women’s rights and empowerment. GABRIELA members and leaders through the years have consistently strove to uplift the situation of their fellow Filipinos, especially women from marginalized communities and sectors, even in the face of continued challenges and shrinking democratic spaces for women’s rights defenders and activists. GABRIELA leaders and members now face intensified state violence, trumped-up charges, systematic red-tagging and smear campaigns, and security and life-threatening accusations of being members of armed rebel groups such as the New People’s Army. We believe that such acts of harassment and pressure upon GABRIELA and its leaders do not only compromise their security and wellbeing, but also impinge on their work to respond to the needs of women and other marginalized communities that they serve.
These allegations are a vile attempt to malign GABRIELA’s integrity and the women it represents. These allegations are meant to silence GABRIELA and all its principles and vision of a truly equitable, empowering, just and free society for women and the people that it has been pressing on for decades. We firmly urge the Philippine judiciary to not be an accessory to the Duterte administration and its ilk’s moves to violate the law and further suppress democracy in the Philippines.
As OBR activists, we stand with our sisters in the Philippines and all over the world who are being targeted for their activism, for defending their rights and their communities, and for working tirelessly for a better society without oppression, exploitation, and violence. As the macho-fascist, misogynist, and right-wing governments are on the rise, we also vow to take stronger stand and raise our voices even louder for our sisters whose voices are being silenced.
We will rise in solidarity with and for our sisters – until the violence stops.
Free Cora Agovida!
Defend Filipino Women!
Stop the attacks against women human rights defenders!