[Statement] Stop Aerial Strikes in Marawi City, Revoke Martial Law in Mindanao!

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June 14, 2017

The use of airstrikes in populated and developed areas endangers the lives of civilians – especially women and children. Innocent lives and livelihoods are put at risk. Right now, tens of thousands of evacuees are seeking refuge in nearby cities, towns, provinces, and homes of relatives to escape from the bombings and continuous clashes between the Islamic State-inspired Maute group militants and government forces in Marawi City.

The supposedly peaceful city has been ravaged, with sections of the city looking much like Aleppo in Syria or the Gaza strip.  Poor men, women, children, PWDs, older persons, and Christians are the most affected. Civilians are trapped or caught in the crossfire and cannot get out of Marawi. While most Marawi residents have evacuated, many are still stranded, trapped, and severely injured because of aerial or ground strikes.

As of June 9, the clash displaced more than 290,000 people, and 39,000+ of them are seeking refuge in evacuation centers. As of this moment, they are facing a vulnerable situation due to lack of basic needs such as halal water and food, and other needs of babies and older persons, and women respectively. There is a scarcity in food, clean water, medicine supplies, hygiene kits, and toilets. Evacuees only share one or two comfort rooms. After three weeks of staying in evacuation centers, many people, especially the children and older people are affected by contagious diseases, such as fever and diarrhea. Food relief and medical assistance cannot easily get through. In this kind of emergency situation, women carry the multiple burden of providing services and unpaid care work where there are none or lacking to ensure food for the family, clean water to consume, children and the sickly are cared for and survival is assured.

In all of these, women – Moro, Lumad and Christians are made more vulnerable. Women are more prone to rape, sexual harassment, and violence due to lack of social protection inside the evacuation centers, and especially so in conflict areas. Thus, we find President Duterte’s remark on rape by soldiers deplorable.  To say that when soldiers commit rape three times, he will take full responsibility is to embolden the armed men, and encourage such violence against women.

We, the Women in Emergencies Network (WENet), share a vision of women-led and gender responsive resilient communities, protecting and defending women and other vulnerable sectors in emergencies, disasters, and conflict situations. We recognize how women play a huge role in times of disasters. Thus, we urge our national government to make all efforts in ensuring the rights of women and children are protected with utmost care, and the specific needs of women, children, PWD, and older persons are provided. We call on the government to stop aerial bombings and provide humanitarian assistance to civilian evacuees and those who are still trapped in the conflict.  We urge government to lift Martial Law in Mindanao for this would further endanger the rights of the people. We must push through the peace process with the active and meaningful participation of women to restore peace in the city. We affirm and further call upon our government leaders to take immediate action to ensure that current and future generations are able to live in peace and dignity.


Women in Emergencies Network (WENet) Members:

Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK) – Secretariat

Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights (LILAK)

Women’s Education, Development, Productivity and Research Organization (WEDPRO)

Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PhilDHRRA)

Central Visayas Farmers Development Center, Inc. (FARDEC)

Pagtambayayong Foundation, Inc. (PFI)

Lihok Pilipina Foundation, Inc. (LIHOK)

Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP)

Balay Mindanaw Foundation, Inc. (BMFI)


For more information, please contact:

Amparo Miciano-Sykioco

Head of Secretariat, Women in Emergencies Network (WENet)

(02) 372-9041 



Right to Sustainable Livelihood and Social Protection

*This is an excerpt from PKKK’s Rural Women Status Report on CEDAW 2011.

ILO defines social protection as a set of policies and programs such as labor market programs, social insurance, social equity, child protection and social assistance and welfare.[1] To many rural women organizations in PKKK in may be in the form of “damayan, paluwagan or aniban” or self help informal social protection schemes.[2]  In the last two years PKKK advocated for social services, support services and jobs instead of conditional cash transfer that the former and the new government promote.  [3]Further PKKK posits that social protection should be universal and not voluntary.

Three Focus Group Discussions among rural and indigenous women was conducted in Aurora and Nueva Ecija[4]. Household farm production is very low due to the small size of their farms.   The research reported that rural and indigenous household has diversified income sources to adapt to their situation.   Microfinance services such as ASKI, Joyful Business, MADECO and Producer are present.  Some members access Philhealth, SSS, SEA K and others.  Also, the economic and social services from the government are limited.

Limited access to land, high cost of farm inputs and low production endangers the food security in the household.  Because of changing food preference of young members of the household there is an increase expenditure on food.  Before they would eat rootcrops but now they prefer rice and processed food.

Continue reading “Right to Sustainable Livelihood and Social Protection”

Right to Environment

*This is an excerpt from PKKK’s Rural Women Status Report on CEDAW 2011.

UN agency  reported that the Philippines ranks third in the world in terms of vulnerability to climate change.[1] The 24.32 percent disaster risk index puts more rural and indigenous women in vulnerable situations.

Disaster risks to rural women are results of environmental degradation.  CEC reported that only 3% of our original forest remains.[2] From 2000 to 2005, there are 1.98 %  of our forest that is lost annually.   Only 4% of our coral reef has excellent condition, most have severe condition.  Mining displaced indigenous peoples, depleted mineral resources and caused landslides.  More than 20 typhoons visit the Philippines annually.

Climate change impact affect rural women differentially according to Peralta.[3] Faced with disaster such as typhoons and droughts, women have lesser capacity to recover since they have fewer assets to sell. Also, more women than men fall into chronic indebtedness related to climate-induced crop failures since more women borrow. When food shortages arise from poor harvests linked to weather problems, women are the last to eat in their households.They prioritize the food needs of male household members and children over their own.

Continue reading “Right to Environment”

Rural Women and Breaking the “Invisibility Cloak” of Women Farmers in the Philippines

*This is an excerpt from PKKK’s Rural Women Status Report on CEDAW 2011.

The United Nations cited the important roles of rural women in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and reducing poverty in their communities. Rural women represent 70 percent of the agricultural workforce, comprising 43 percent of agricultural workers worldwide. The Food and Agriculture estimated that if rural women had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20–30 percent, lifting 100-150 million out of hunger. Furthermore, equal access to resources will raise total agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5–4 percent, thereby contributing to both food security and economic growth.

CSI research shows that women in agriculture spend as much as eight to eleven hours a day in productive and reproductive work—i.e. acquiring capital for farming (usually through credit), carrying out planting activities, marketing the primary crop and backyard produce, and providing for their household’s daily survival needs. They spend from one to six hours daily for domestic work, which includes activities like preparing farm tools and food for farm laborers, fetching water, gardening, foraging, wood gathering, raising poultry and livestock, and other livelihood activities. During the off-season, the women in agriculture spend more time in domestic chores, as well as augmenting cash income and ensuring food for their households.

Continue reading “Rural Women and Breaking the “Invisibility Cloak” of Women Farmers in the Philippines”

Right to Health and Protection from Gender-Based Violence

*This is an excerpt from PKKK’s Rural Women Status Report on CEDAW 2011.

The ratification of CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women), which is described as international bill of rights of women,  by the Philippine government implies its commitment to uphold gender equality and women’s empowerment and to eradicate whatever forms of discrimination exist in the Philippine setting, in all sectors and conditions including gender-based violence and health. And yet eradication of discrimination and biases against rural women remains elusive due to the following: (1) absence of national and local government support to provide the health needs of the people particularly the poor; and (2) inequality issues such as and cultural barriers, Catholic Church influence on the enactment of reproductive health bill; (3) and lack of gender-sensitivity and gender-responsiveness of local government units.

Many Filipinos, especially rural women are unable to access and use of health care. Compared with other Asian countries, health expenditure in the Philippines registered 3.8 percent which is way below the five percent standard set by the World Health Organization for developing countries. Our health sector is grossly underfunded by at least 40%, representing the cost of unmet needs of many of our people (ABI 2011).

Continue reading “Right to Health and Protection from Gender-Based Violence”

Representation and Participation of Rural Women in Governance and Implementation of Gender and Development

*This is an excerpt from PKKK’s Rural Women Status Report on CEDAW 2011.

The Magna Carta of Women is framed in the context of CEDAW. It defines Gender and Development (GAD) as development perspective and process that are participatory and empowering, equitable, sustainable, free from violence, respectful of human rights, supportive of self determination and actualization of human potentials. It seeks to achieve gender equality as a fundamental value that should be reflected in development choices; seeks to transform society’s social, economic, and political structures and questions the validity of gender roles they ascribed to women and men; contends that women are active agents of development and not just passive recipients of development assistance; and stresses the need of women to organize themselves and participate in political processes to strengthen their legal rights.

There are several laws pro-actively promoting and protecting the rights of women. And yet, women’s important role and contribution in development and nation building are not yet fully recognized. Rural women are often treated at the sidelines. Their representation and participation in different local development councils and special bodies has been dismal. PKKK  cited several factors contributing to gender inequality in governance and participation: (1) the traditional notion that women’s role is always in the house, still proliferates in rural communities; (2) women commonly exhibit low confidence and self-esteem because the society considered them inferior in terms of decision-making, or being discouraged and prevented by their husbands or fathers from joining organizations or any political undertaking; (3) lack of information on CEDAW, law on gender equality, programs, resources and services not only of rural women but also local government officials and policy implementers; (4) men still dominate in the elective positions and leadership structure; (5) women’s participation in local elections are often impeded by traditional politics and  non-accreditation due to inconsistent processes/guidelines rigid requirements.

Continue reading “Representation and Participation of Rural Women in Governance and Implementation of Gender and Development”