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Gabriela, Anakbayan: ‘Junk Cha-cha, anti-poor policies’

By Abby Bilan

To commemorate the International Women’s Day (IWD), some 200 protesters from the women and youth sectors mobilized at Plaza Rizal on March 8, 2023.

They marched from Quince Martires along J. Hernandez Avenue through Naga City People’s Mall and then to Plaza Rizal where the delegates held a program.

Aside from violence against women and children (VAWC), the nationally coordinated protest chiefly lobbied economic concerns calling for minimum wage increase and lower prices. They further denounced jeepney modernization, contractualization, rice liberalization law, mandatory ROTC and Charter Change (cha-cha).

Bicolana Gabriela Chairperson Jen Nagrampa said, “Kaya po samuyang pangapodan lalo na sa mga namamanwaan asin mga nagdadangog, makiaram po kita lalo na sa mga isyu arog kan pagtulod sa Charter Change ta iyo na naman ini an sarong paagi kan satong gobyerno para magtinir sinda sa puwesto.”

“Kaya po dapat dangugon kang satuyang gobyerno tanganing maggibo nin aksiyon para maalwan man lamang kudta an pagtios na namamati kan satuyang namamanwaan,” she added.

WOMEN’S DAY Protesters marched to Plaza Rizal to commemorate the International Women’s Day on March 8, 2023, and lobby their economic concerns. Photo by ANNEILLE MONDRAGON

Nagrampa has also been detained in July 2020 over an alleged trumped-up murder charge. The court dismissed the said case in April 2021.

Moreover, there were 673 reported cases of violation of Republic Act (RA) 9262, or the “Anti-Violence against Women and Their Children Act of 2004”, across Bicol provinces in 2022. Among the most prominent cases was the rape-slay of a grade 12 Ateneo student in Pili, Camarines Sur.

Anakbayan - Naga City Chairperson Sarah Ayesha Bustamante emphasized how the city needs to further its initiatives on safe spaces amidst VAWC cases and human rights violations.

They also recalled the incident during the IWD in 2021 when an unidentified man threw a pail of urine at the protesters at the middle of the Bicolana Gabriela Youth (BGY) chairperson’s speech.

“Mananatiling hindi ligtas na espasyo ang siyudad ng Naga hanggang nariyan ang presensya at agresyon ng mga pulis at military sa mga aktibista, human rights workers, at sa lahat ng mga nagsusulong ng mga karapatan ng kababaihan,” she added.

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