on Other Problems
On President Aquino’s 100th day in office, we in KAISA KA consider the President’s stand on family planning endearing to women, mothers’ especially. He still has to make clear policy statements, however, on other issues that concern women and the rest of the population and start action to show that indeed, his administration is essentially different from GMA’s.
It is encouraging that the president, up to his 100th day has stood firmly on the state’s duty to provide the population information and access to different family planning methods despite the Catholic bishops’ warnings that amount to saying they will set off a destabilization campaign against this administration if he does not retract. Many political leaders back out when faced with stiff opposition from the leaders of the biggest church in the Philippines.
But he still has to take action on the long list of demands of women’s organizations and those of other marginalized sectors regarding some important issues.
For instance, he has remained silent on the issue of foreign military troop’s presence, which for years, KAISA KA and other organizations have been opposing because it undermines national sovereignty and puts women and their communities more vulnerable to military sexual violence. It has remained silent on the VFA that is among the reasons for the US military’s continued stay and has led to several reports of abuses on women and other civilians.
Despite the seriousness of trafficking in persons in the country, the Philippines being in the Tier 2 of the US ‘State Departments’ list, it is only a statement through an interview that the president gave out and nothing more.
President Aquino has not made any pronouncement against neo-liberal economic impositions instead harks on his Public-Private Partnership scheme that doesn’t break away from the former.
He has not taken any step to curb casualization of labor, which puts many women out of work, forces them to accept jobs that are more exploitative and makes them more vulnerable to trafficking.
He has not taken a clear position on Hacienda Luisita, an issue that would define his land and agrarian reform agenda.
He stopped frenzied demolition of squatters in North Triangle but does not act yet on the demand of urban poor on the three-year moratorium of demolition nor lay down his urban land reform and comprehensive housing program for the poor.
His realignment of budget with clear bias on health and education is encouraging, but his comprehensive plan regarding these matters must take off from the most practical and realizable.
While he claims to have improved the fiscal situation of the country and has remarkably stabilized the peso’s standing, mothers find it ever more difficult to stretch the peso to meet the family’s daily needs.
KAISA KA reminds administration that rhetoric will not work for long.