SF CHRP (San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines) is a San Francisco based human rights advocacy group. Latest news and views on human rights in the Philippines.
On Valentine’s day the national democratic women’s alliance, Gabriela, joined the world-wide One Billion Rising campaign using it as an opportunity to also call on the Philippine government to get rid of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which allows U.S. military forces in the Philippines, which has led to numerous cases of violence against women:
Leading a massive march of women’s organizations and their supporters down Tomas Morato Avenue in Quezon City as part of the global One Billion Rising (OBR) campaign against violence on women, the militant women’s alliance GABRIELA railed against the controversial US-RP Visiting Forces Agreement that activists blame for the continuing destruction of the Tubbataha reefs as the agreement approaches its 14th anniversary.
“Filipino women are rising in disgust against this iniquitous treaty that for 14 years has converted our motherland into a virtual military base, prostitution den, killing field and dumping ground for toxic wastes of the United States,” said Joms Salvador, secretary general of GABRIELA.
The GABRIELA leader said the VFA exposes women to sexual violence because US troops are let loose to exploit women and children who are pushed into poverty and prostitution. The group reminded that because of the VFA, US Armed Forces personnel accused of rape are allowed to escape prosecution in local courts.
“One of our concrete calls for the One Billion Rising campaign is for the termination of the unjust VFA and the expulsion of the remaining US forces, beginning with the junk ship squatting in Tubbataha,” Salvador added.
The simultaneous protest activities under OBR Philippines is also being unleashed in at least 25 other locations around the Philippines today, with the support of a broad range of actors such as Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte and the entire City Council of Baguio. The Philippines is one of the first countries to mount OBR actions before the sun rises on some 200 other nations, including the Congo where OBR founder Eve Ensler herself is coordinating its festival.