TWO days before the International Women’s Day and a week before the announcement of the lockdown imposed a year ago, the Ecumenical Women’s Forum (EWF), a formation of women from Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, gathered in a blended liturgical commemoration (online and off-line) with the theme “Rise Against Tyranny, Pursue Justice.”
After a year of the implementation of lockdown, the suffering of the poor aggravated. Violence against women and children also intensified.
The Covid-19 pandemic was used by the authorities to repress the rights of the people. Instead of alleviating their suffering, the government passed in haste the Anti-Terror Law that only in effect intensified and legalized rights violations of the people.
The lawmakers are already brewing the Charter Change, when it could spend time crafting a comprehensive approach to addressing the impact of the pandemic and laws that would liberate the Filipino people from the shackles of poverty, unemployment and poor social services.
The gathering amplified the ecumenical women’s voice, not only on the suffering they faced amidst the lockdown, but strengthened their unity towards a collective demand to pursue the cause of justice.
“We join the call to junk the Anti-Terror Law. This weaponization of the law will only put the lives of people in peril. We have to defend our rights and our people from tyrannical and fascist rule,” said Mo. Mary John, Co- convenor of EWF.
Sr. Rowena Pineda, MMS and chairperson of Sisters’ Association in Mindanao, stressed that “As tyranny, corruption, and impunity surround us, women of faith must resolve to resist tyranny! With joined hearts and hands, side by side, we pursue justice for peace in our land.”
Dr. Gay Manodon, the vice chairperson of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines and president of the Ecumenical Church Women United of the Philippines, recalled the historical significance of the event.
“It very important to recognize the significant role of poor women who unlearned the ways of patriarchy, misogyny and oppression. We remember the women working class who struggled hard for their economic and political rights, and we honor them as they fought hard to make March 8, an important day for women around the world’, Dr. Manodon said.
On March 8, the EWF will join the throng of women demanding for system change.