International Women’s Day 2020
BAYAN Canada Statement
8 March 2020
On the 111th anniversary of International Women’s Day, BAYAN Canada, the alliance of progressive Filipino organizations in Canada, calls on all overseas Filipino men and women to join the Global Women’s Strike on March 8,2020. BAYAN Canada asks women and their allies to withdraw their work on this day, to recognize the roots of International Women’s Day in women’s solidarity actions, and to shout out to the world that if women stop, the world stops!
Women around the world continue to rise and fight for justice, not only for themselves but for the rest of the people and the planet that we live on. Women are half of the world strong, and when women come together across generations and across various struggles, women can and have truly created genuine change.
Every day, six thousand women and men leave the Philippines, their families and communities behind to work abroad, and many end up working in exploitative and precarious conditions. Last year, a Filipina domestic worker was executed in Saudi Arabia and another 26-year-old young woman in Kuwait was murdered by her employers. Many more languish in jails abroad as in the case of domestic worker Mary Jane Veloso who remains in death row in Indonesia. These women are casualties of the Philippine government’s decades-old labour export program and are witnesses to the failure of the Duterte regime to address the roots causes of migration: foreign domination, agrarian backwardness and semifeudal exploitation of peasants and farmworkers, bureaucratic corruption and government incompetence.
Instead of advancing genuine social and economic reforms, the Duterte regime continues to remain subservient to US and Chinese interests and has sold Philippine sovereignty and the national patrimony, leaving the Filipino people hungry, jobless, bereft of basic social and public services like health, public education, water, health care and disaster and rehabilitation. With the recent changes to the Human Security Act, Duterte’s Senate has given the government and the military the power to define who are the “terrorists”, how to punish them and has given it more reasons to heighten the attacks against the people. The Duterte regime has dismissed any work on negotiating peace with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and has instead arrested, detained and killed the NDF peace consultants. It continues to impose martial law and has in effect declared war on the very people the government is meant to serve.
The more President Rodrigo Duterte holds on to power, the more he stokes the fire of fighting for national liberation, and with it the liberation of Filipino women. Alongside the workers and the peasants, youth and students, indigenous communities, overseas Filipinos, professionals, urban poor, fisherfolk, political prisoners and other sectors who are demanding land, livelihood, food, justice and gender equality are the women who march and fight in the struggle for genuine change and lasting peace.
BAYAN Canada and its member organizations stand in solidarity with the indigenous women in their struggles as defenders of their unceded lands within their sovereign nations. We stand in solidarity with our sisters working in the hotel industry, in the farms, in shops, in the homes taking care of children and the elderly, many of whom are women of colour, working in low-paid jobs.
We embrace the heroic and militant tradition of Gabriela Silang, Tandang Sora, Gregoria de Jesus and Lorena Barros and many more courageous Filipino women as we mark this International Women’s Day with renewed commitment to fight for a people’s democratic government committed to the public welfare, upholding national sovereignty, striving for prosperity and a just and liberating peace.
Get involved, strike for your rights!
Onward to women’s call for equality, land, food and justice!
List of Canada actions:
March 8, 1 PM @ Cabot Square, Montreal
IWD Feminist Mixer
March 10, 6:30 PM – 9 PM @ 67 Nicholas St.
Indoor rally and March
March 8, 11 am @ OISE, 252 Bloor St. West
March and forum
March 8, 1:30 PM @Alberta Legislature
March 8, 2 PM – 4 PM @ Grandview Park