MANILA - Her son was killed in an anti-drug operation, but Lorie Pasco said her family was still hounded by barangay officials as he remains to be a target of “tokhang” operations in their neighborhood.
Pasco fears that her other son, a jeepney driver, may also fall victim to the government’s drive against illegal drugs.
“Ang sabi ko nga maswerte sila dahil hindi ako ang nakausap nila dahil kung hindi, dadalhin ko sila sa libingan ng aking anak,” Pasco said.
(I said they are lucky that they weren't able to talk to me because I would have brought them to my son's grave.)
Pasco is one of the women gathered by the Center for Women’s Resources in a forum "Remember, Reclaim and Resist" held at the University of the Philippines Diliman Wednesday.
The forum tackled various women’s issues, including human rights violations, martial law in Mindanao, and the rising prices of commodities.
It comes 2 days before nationwide protests set on the commemoration of the 46th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
The regime, toppled by a popular revolt in 1986, was marked by killings, enforced disappearances and other human rights violations, plunder, and repression of free speech, among others.
One of the attendees at the forum is a former worker for Nutri-Asia, Jeovellyn Bornales, who is now struggling to find a new job after joining the controversial strike that had led to violent dispersals.
Bornales took exception to criticism that the poor barely make ends meet because they are too lazy to work.
She narrated how she endured hypertension because of working long hours at the condiment firm before she joined the strike.
“Kung taasan nila ang sahod namin at ibaba ang presyo ng bilihin na 'yan, sana buhay na buhay kami at wala sanang lumalaban ng ganito,” Bornales said.
(If they only increase our salary and bring down the prices of commodities then it will be enough for us and we no longer have to fight like this.)
Others who joined the forum had their own stories of struggling through life. Two farmers' wives narrated how difficult it has been for their families and how they could afford to only eat porridge these days. A UP student leader, meanwhile, complained of harassment on campus.
The forum also coincided with on-going proceedings against President Rodrigo Duterte at the International People's Tribunal in Belgium.
According to CWR Executive Director Jojo Guan, their group is one of the complainants against Duterte over his supposed misogynistic statements in public speeches.
Guan said the forum was aimed at creating more awareness on issues affecting women. They vowed to join Friday's protest.
“Sasama kami para ipaglaban na ang kababaihan kailangang-kailangan igalang ang karapatan lalo na sa mga panahon na ito na umiiral ang pagiging macho ng lipunan,” Guan said
(We will join to fight for women whose rights need to be respected especially at this time when machismo prevails in society.)