Conditions for Women Worsen in Aquino’s First Year

Press Statement

July 25, 2011

Reference: Raquel Redondiez, Chairperson,

Conditions for Women Worsen in Aquino’s First Year

While Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino delivers a message of hope and progress during the State of the Nation Address (SONA), thousands of Filipinos worldwide will take part in protest actions in an outcry to the worsening conditions of Filipinos at home and abroad.  Aquino won the hearts and minds of those who voted him into office with the slogan of hope and change, yet for the millions of Filipinos still suffering from poverty, economic plunder and injustice, there has been no change under Aquino’s administration.

Filipino women have suffered long enough, with the continued rise in basic commodities such as food, gas and water, to support their families.  Short term welfare solutions such as the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program which aims to provide government funding to those who meet certain criteria for things like enrollment for their children, vaccinations, check-ups at the doctor’s office, are dole out solutions which does not aim to address the root causes of poverty for the majority of Filipinos.  A survey among women who were recipients of the CCT program showed that 77% claimed the CCT could be more beneficial if it offered long term benefits like scholarships for their children or regular employment.

While programs like the CCT program are pushed as band aid solutions to provide basic services and necessities for poor families, Aquino has added the extra burden on women by taking away basic public services such as health care and public transportation, and handing them over to the private sector to supposedly “help” improve these services under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program.  However, privatization schemes such as the PPP have proven to only to serve the wealthy multinational corporate investors while the majority of the nation continues to suffer, widening the gap between the rich and the poor.

Given the lack of real change, the Filipino people continue to leave the country in droves to seek employment abroad.  According to Migrante International, the state of our and welfare of Filipino migrant workers is “arguably the worst year for OFWs”.  Aquino has failed time and again to address the needs of our overseas compatriots including immediate evacuation and repatriation of OFWs affected by the conflict in the North African region of the Middle East; continued persecution and execution of Filipinos on death row; innumerous mandatory fees; failure to investigate allegations of misuse and corruption of the Overseas Filipino Workers Welfare Administration funds; and the lack of a comprehensive sustainable program for returned OFWs and their families.

While these human rights violations continue under the current administration, we cannot forget the thousands of victims still suffering during Arroyo’s reign of terror, which Aquino has done little to nothing to hold her accountable during her 9 year rule stained with a long list of scandals, tortures, abductions and political killings.  Aquino’s first term as President has not been much different than that of his predecessor, with 45 politically motivated killings, 5 victims of forced disappearance and over 300 political prisoners behind bars.

Aquino campaigned and won on a platform and slogan of change, but aside from the “look and feel” of a clean leader, change has not come in a profound way to the Filipino people.

As the U.S. chapter of GABRIELA- Philippines, Filipino women and their allies continue to hold Aquino accountable for the innumerous failures and false promises laid out by Aquino and his administration, and call for the immediate prosecution for former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.  The women of GABRIELA demand that long term sustainable policies such as the support of the passage of the P125 wage increase, the passage of the Reproductive Health bill and other economic measures that ensure immediate and long term relief for the women and their families, be at the top of Aquino’s agenda.

A list of protest actions across the US in support of the people’s protest against Aquino’s State of the Nation Address are listed below.  For more information contact

FiRE – New York

Sunday, July 24 – 12pm

At the corner of Roosevelt Ave & 69th St in Woodside, Queens.

Babae & Samaka – San Francisco

Monday, July 25th

5:30pm Meet @ Powell BART

6:00pm March to Philippine Consulate (447 Sutter St. in SF)

* Please wear black and red *

SiGAw! – Los Angeles

Monday, July 25, 2011 – 5:30 PM

At the Philippine Consulate: 3600 Wilshire, Los Angeles, CA 90010

Pin@y sa Seattle – Seattle

Sunday July, 31, 2011, 11am-4pm

Pista sa Nayon Information Booth and MK Survey – 5895 Lake Washington Blvd. S