The National Federation of Peasant Women (Amihan) and other farmers groups on Oct. 15, 2019 marked the International Day of Rural Women by protesting in front of military headquarters Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City to speak out against the militarization of peasant communities.
Screen grab, Amihan Women Facebook Page
On Rural Women’s Day, peasant groups call on military to pull out of communities
Ratziel San Juan (Philstar.com) - October 15, 2019 - 3:52pm

MANILA, Philippines — The National Federation of Peasant Women (Amihan) and other farmers groups on Tuesday marked International Day of Rural Women by protesting in front of Camp Aguinaldo, the military headquarters in Quezon City, to speak out against militarization in rural communities.

"While the world recognizes the invaluable contribution of peasant women to development, the Duterte regime does the opposite. Already engrossed in chronic landlessness, poverty, and hunger, Duterte worsens it by direct fascist attacks legitimized by his various authoritarian issuances," Amihan National Chairperson Zenaida Soriano said in a release.

Soriano said that aside from increased military presence in peasant communities resulting from the implementation of martial law in Mindanao and Memorandum Order 32 in Samar, Bicol, and Negros, troops also occupied places frequented by farmers, such as schools, daycare centers, barangay halls, barangay health centers, plazas, houses, and fields.

“Kung kaya’t nangangamba ang mga kababaihang magsasaka sa kanilang buhay at sa buhay ng kanilang mga anak na pumapasok sa mga eskwelahan,” Soriano told Philstar.com.

(This is why women farmers fear for their lives along with their children’s just for attending class in military-occupied schools.)

Human rights group Karapatan has said the farming sector has seen 216 extrajudicial killings and seven enforced disappearances between July 2016 and June 2019.

The figure includes 31 women, 29 elderly, and 10 minors, Soriano claimed.

Karapatan also tallied over 40,000 cases where educational, medical, and religious public places were used for military purposes.

Soriano also cited attacks that she said women in the provinces endure, such as sexual harassment and being forced to perform humiliating acts.

“Lahat ng ito ay nagreresulta ng sikolohikal at pisikal na trauma sa mga kababaihan at pamilyang magsasaka sa kanayunan,” Soriano said.

(All of this results in psychological and physical trauma among women and peasant families in the countryside.)

Sen. Leila de Lima, who chairs the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development in a Tuesday release said the government needs to support the plight of rural women.

“I call on our government to provide them all the opportunities in their community to uplift themselves and their families so they will not think that social mobility is only possible in urban areas,” the senator said.

“Their hard work, fortitude and sacrifice for the betterment of their families and communities pave the way for the progress not only of their locality but also of the global village.”

AMIHAN-NATIONAL FEDERATION OF PEASANT WOMEN ARMED FORCES OF THE PHI­LIPPINES WORLD RURAL WOMEN
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