In celebration of International Working Women’s Day, CPSO-Toronto sends warm greetings of solidarity to the fearless women leaders of the Philippine struggle for national liberation and genuine democracy.
Since our founding in 2020, we have had the pleasure of working with many women leaders. In relating with the legal-democratic mass organisations, we built relations with Rita “Tarits” Baua (IR officer of BAYAN), Tinay Palabay (SecGen of Karapatan), Fides Lim (Spokesperson of Kapatid), and Ka Mimi (Spokesperson of Kadamay), and more. We met youth leaders like Kate of Anakbayan and Julianne of Kabataan Partylist. And here in Canada, we integrate with migrant women like Sol, Leny, Marisol, and Lourdes of Migrante-Ontario.
We sent letters of support to political prisoners like Karina Dela Cerna (NNARA-Youth peasant advocate) and Amanda Echanis (AMIHAN peasant women’s advocate). We expressed our outrage at the extrajudicial assassination of Zara Alvarez, health and human rights volunteer. We decried the killing and trophy-display of Jevilyn Cullamat, a medic of the New People’s Army, as war crimes of the US-backed Armed Forces of the Philippines.
And finally, though our work as a member of the Friends of the Filipino People in Struggle, we have had the pleasure of working alongside Coni Ledesma (NDFP Peace Negotiating Panel member, international spokesperson for MAKIBAKA, head of the NDFP Office for the Protection of Children) and Julie De Lima (Chair, NDFP Peace Negotiating Panel).
As we have seen in practice, women lead the struggle in all sectors for National Democracy in the Philippines. Patriarchy permeates every aspect of the semi-colonial, semi-feudal Philippine society. Women’s labour is invisibilized and exploited, first by lower wages, second by landlessness, and third by their role in domestic work. Women are disproportionately forced to sell their labour power, and into harsher conditions by these factors. They are pushed into the most exploitative forms of work which separate them from their families by the labour export policy, subject them to labour and human trafficking by unscrupulous recruiters, and trap them in the sex trade. The depth of the exploitation means that the revolution that liberates workers puts the liberation of women at the forefront!
This is why the Filipino masses will not be free until working and oppressed women are free. This is why Filipino women will lead the struggle until victory!