8 March 2002 For immediate release
From the Philippines to Canada to countries all over the world where Filipino women are struggling, thousands will take to the streets on March 8, International Women's Day 2002.
We take to the streets to protest against our families' hunger, poverty, and destitution, to fight for equality, genuine development, and peace, and to militantly mount our resistance against imperialist globalization.
We raise our protests in the spirit and tradition of Filipino women's century-long revolutionary struggle for women's liberation, and the liberation of the Filipino people from foreign and feudal exploitation and oppression. For generations, Filipino women have been an integral and vital part of the Filipino people's struggle for national democracy.
The genuine history of the Filipino people is replete with examples of women who fought against unjust structures in Philippine society.
Gabriela Silang, the first women general led a heroic armed resistance movement in Northern Philippines against Spanish colonizers. Gregoria de Jesus continued to battle against Spanish colonialism and joined the Katipuneros, the revolutionary organization that united the democratic aspirations of the peasants and the emerging Fililpino working class. The Katipuneros won the independence of the Philippines in the Philippine Revolution of 1896 by overthrowing Spanish rulers.
However, the aspirations of the people for freedom and democracy were yet again trampled on with the coming of the United States. From 1899 to 1902, the U.S. unleashed a bloody war of conquest on the Philippines, massacring one million Filipinos, in what was called 'the bloodiest colonial war ever fought by a white power in Asia'. In the face of tyranny, the people once again demonstrated their resistance, and Filipino freedom fighters resisted the technological-superior U.S. military. Filipino women provided vital support to the armed guerilla resistance movement by acting as messengers for the Filipino freedom fighters. Despite, the valiant resistance of the people, the U.S. succeeded in its military campaign and claimed the Philippines as their colony.
Up to this day, U.S. imperialism continues to wreak havoc on the Filipino people. As this tyranny continues, so does the struggle for national freedom and democracy. And as they did one hundred years ago, Filipino women continue to struggle against the exploitative and oppressive structures of U.S. imperialism.
With the same terror as they did in 1899, over 600 U.S. combat troops marched back into the Philippines to open up the U.S.' second-front in its international war against terrorism earlier this year. Filipino women are fiercely resisting the return of the U.S. military.
On International Women's Day, GABRIELA, the largest and militant national alliance of Filipino women's organizations, will be handing in their verdict to the current Macapagal-Arroyo regime in the parliament of the streets. GABRIELA has militantly resisted the anti-national, anti-people, and anti-women policies of Philippine President Macapagal-Arroyo.
As overseas Filipino women in Canada, our daily experiences of racism, abuse, violence, exploitation and oppression are rooted in the unjust structures of the Philippines that forced us from our homeland. Therefore, we stand firm in our solidarity with the marginalized and majority of women in the Philippines who are against the U.S. war of intervention in the Philippines.
Our protests on March 8, will also be in the spirit of the hundreds of Filipino women before us who struggled for liberation and the democratic aspirations of the Filipino people. We call on all overseas Filipino women in Canada, especially our young women, to continue the over century-long revolutionary tradition of Filipino women.
On International Women's Day 2002, let us reclaim our genuine revolutionary heritage and continue Filipino women's struggle for social and national liberation!
For more information please contact Philippine Women Centre
c/o Kalayaan Centre
451 Powell Street
Vancouver, BC V6A 1G7