Gabriela members campaign for various women and people's issues, from K-12 to the counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan.
Sr. Mary John Mananzan as Sr. Stella L, in a short skit on the importance of Women's Day protests. Nikko Nagutom
Veterans of the struggle against Martial Law join the protest. Sidlangan Natividad
Wesley Gatchalian, representing his brother Sherwin who is running for senator, joins the Liwasang Bonifacio leg of the Women's Day protest. Nikko Nagutom
Gabriela secretary-general Joms Salvador. Nikko Nagutom
LGBT activists join the protest in Liwasang Bonifacio.
Presidential candidate Grace Poe speaks to the crowd. Nikko Nagutom
Heart Evangelista represents her husband, the vice-presidential candidate Chiz Escudero. Nikko Nagutom
Sen. Vicente Sotto III Macky Macaspac
Speakers from workers (Kentex fire survivor), urban poor women (from Tondo, Manila) and families of overseas Filipino workers (Celia Veloso, Mary Jane's mother) speak about their struggles. Nikko Nagutom
Women marshalls block the traffic to allow the marchers to pass through. Sidlangan Natividad
Sugar Mercado, TV personality who was also an abuse survivor, joins the stage. Macky Macaspac
Makabayan senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares talks about advocacy for women's rights and welfare inside Congress and, hopefully, Senate. Macky Macaspac
Gabriela marchers pass by a graffiti of a woman warrior at Jones Bridge in Quiapo. Macky Macaspac
Women leaders take a shot at images of Aquino and Uncle Sam, as well as other cabinet officials including presidential candidate Mar Roxas. KR Guda
Underground women's organization Makibaka (Makabayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan, or National Movement of New Women) place a streamer in a footbridge near Mendiola. Cindy Aquino
A disabled worker joins the march to Mendiola. Cindy Aquino
Lola Narcisa. Macky Macaspac
Lola Narcisa of the comfort women group Lila Pipina, speaks about the horrors of violence against women during imperialist wars. KR Guda
"A woman's place is in the struggle." Cindy Aquino
This year’s International Women’s Day commemoration led by women’s group Gabriela in Manila was an occasion both to gather pro-women supporters and deliver a parting shot at the sitting president, Benigno Aquino III.
In Liwasang Bonifacio, artists, personalities and politicians went on stage to perform and deliver speeches. There was Dalin Sarmiento, who sought the help of Gabriela in publicizing her complaint against an abusive film director; the activist-nun Sister Mary John Mananzan, who curiously played the fictional Sister Stella L. (a film character from Mike de Leon’s film of the same name that was reportedly loosely based on Sister Mary John herself) in a skit; and television personality Heart Evangelista-Escudero, who represented the vice-presidential candidate and gave praise to Gabriela’s work.
Politicians who spoke to court the audience’s votes included representatives of senatorial candidates Susan Ople and Win Gatchalian, as well as candidates Tito Sotto and, of course, Makabayan’s Neri Colmenares. The Liwasang Bonifacio stage belonged to presidential candidate Grace Poe, who (rightly or wrongly) compared her Supreme Court victory with that of all Filipino women.
All these, however, merely prefaced the “real” Women’s Day protest, when thousands of women and men marched from Liwasang Bonifacio to Mendiola.
In what would be one of the last major protest actions against the current president, Gabriela once more brought to the Palace gates the people’s issues, from the escalating number of cases of physical and sexual violence against women to economic violence–the increasing poverty and landlessness under a regime that only intensified its implementation of neoliberal policies that mainly benefits the few rich and foreign monopoly capitalists.
Photos by Macky Macaspac, Nikko Nagutom, Sidlangan Natividad, Marjo Malubay, KR Guda, Cindy Aquino, and PMC interns Rica Mae Jurilla, Catherine Balagtas and Ralph