Anakbayan-Toronto Statement on International Women’s Day

ab-t-photoOn this day, Anakbayan-Toronto rises with all our sisters around the world! We are committed to work for the welfare of Filipinos wherever they are. Above all, we work for the rights and welfare of women and youth who have been denied justice and betrayed by the Philippine government!

We reject the misleading Global Gender Gap Index report ranking the Philippines as among the top five in the world and the top in Asia in closing its gender gap. This is false! The economic, social and cultural barriers are still in place, effectively keeping women in dire conditions. In fact, the feminization of migrant labour migration is prominent as the Aquino government refuses to provide jobs with decent wages. Instead, Aquino’s government pushes Philippine’s Labour Export Policy (LEP) to its maximum extent, sending many parents abroad, thus breaking up millions of families.

Meanwhile, remittances from migrant women still play a major role in the country’s economy, making women’s migrant labour the milking cow of a bankrupt government. Relying on money from abroad and bogus foreign investments is not the way to build a developed and self-sustaining country.

We condemn Aquino’s so-called 7% GDP increase which does not trickle down to the majority of the population. It only means widespread unemployment and underemployment for the majority of women and men. The result is extreme poverty and the militarization of rural areas where foreign companies, especially mining companies, are exploiting natural resources.

Furthermore, Filipinos in Canada face a number of problems. There are over 100 000 Filipino- Canadians and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Alberta in need of accessible, regular and affordable services. It is absurd for people to have to travel to another province just to renew their passports.

Moreover, We urge the Canadian government to give landed immigrant status upon arrival to Live in Caregivers (LICs). As a crucial and contributing part of Canadian society, LICs should be given the same access to social services such as basic health care. LICs, while taking care of Canadian families should be able to bring their own families to Canada because research has revealed time and again the devastating social, psychological and physical effects of family separation due to labour migration.

Lastly, we deserve a raise. Here in Canada the minimum wage still prevents many workers, especially women of colour, the right to earn a living wage. The $11 increase promised by Premier Kathleen Wynne keeps the poorest families 16% below the poverty line. This is unacceptable! Hard working people deserve fair wages.

On International Women’s Day, Anakbayan-Toronto is rising to take power back to the people. We will continue to work towards the genuine national development in the Philippines, for the welfare of Filipinos in Canada and to demand fairness and justice for all people.

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