Raging on in women’s day-A A +A
By Tyrone Velez
Thursday, March 7, 2013
THERE’S sad news heading into International Women’s Day tomorrow. Cristina Jose, barangay kagawad and leader of the Typhoon Pablo victims’ movement Barug Katungod was shot dead Monday night in Binondo, Baganga, Davao Oriental.
Reports from her group said she was about to board a vehicle in Poblacion coming back to Davao when she was shot by three-men aboard a motorcycle.
The manner of her death – carried by motorcycle riding men – is eerily similar to the killing of Father Fausto Tentorio in 2011. And the circumstances – her expose of soldiers hoarding relief in her village, harassment and blacklisting of Pablo victims – raise suspicion that state agents are not happy with her guts.
The suspect are members of the 67th Infantry Battalion, a unit that is previously accused of harassing environment advocate Sr. Stella Matutina OSB by branding her as an NPA in disguise.
Jose’s death is painful in two ways. One, Pablo victims especially women, will be gripped with more fear for merely asking for adequate relief. They are still recovering from the injuries and harassments they suffered from the police in last week’s barricade; they are also hurting from the unkind words from a woman mayor who branded them as looters, troublemakers and unwelcome to the city.
This is also a pain for Davao, as it betrays the city’s legacy of championing democracy and free assembly, including the Martial Law years where the mayor’s late grandmother fought along with women activists.
Second is that Jose’s death shows continuing impunity even in Aquino’s ‘matuwid na daan’. She is the 15th victim of political killings in Davao region under his term, and the third woman since indigenous leader Florita Caya of Monkayo, Compostela Valley and eight-year old Sunshine Jabinez in Pantukan.
This sad news shows that women in this country are still victims of violence. Be it at home, at work, at school, in society’s seedy side like sex trade, or in countrysides where soldiers lord over civilians.
This is happening even if the country has 37 laws, presidential executive orders and Congress resolutions to protect women, violence still continues.
This has to do with political action, which this government has none towards protecting women from violence especially from the state.
Impunity continues because not one single case of killing or violations against women involving soldiers has been prosecuted or led to conviction. There’s the case of Blaan anti-mining leader Juvy Capion killed by soldiers in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur. There’s still no word on how the government will prosecute the soldiers. There’s the Maguindanao Massacre where lawyer Connie Brizuela, another woman lawyer and other women journalists gruesomely killed, yet the trial is going to last a century.
There’s a lot more of the neglect by the government on women’s conditions, reflective from its poor response to health and maternal care, to employment and education, to sex and human trafficking, and to dole-outs guised as conditional cash transfers which does not empower women. It’s really a sad note for women, and men who care.
For that, this Women’s Day will be again about rage and reckoning for an administration that doesn’t care.
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Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 07, 2013.