In commemoration of the 120th anniversary of the Philippine Independence, the Philippine Commission on Women recommits itself to the spirits of freedom, democracy, equality, justice and solidarity – the very ideals that inspired our brave women and men in the Philippine struggle for Independence against Spanish colonialism.
One hundred and twenty years after the end of the revolution, we continue to confront various forms of political interventions, economic exploitation and social injustices such as gender discrimination, misogyny and sexism. Women’s human rights must be respected, protected and fulfilled. We remain steadfast in our work of upholding these rights towards the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.
With this year’s theme, “Kalayaan 2018: Pagbabagong Ipinaglaban Alay sa Masaganang Kinabukasan”, the enjoyment of our hard-earned national independence calls for governance institutions to be inclusive and responsive to the needs of Filipino women, men and children, especially those who are marginalized. All citizens regardless of sex, age, class, gender identity and sexual orientation, civil or marital status, physical and mental ability, ethnicity, language, religion, or political affiliation, should be involved and empowered, especially by the State, to freely and actively participate in sustaining our freedom and democracy in all spheres of governance.
We also celebrate as a nation the gains in protecting the inherent dignity of every citizen, especially women and girls, as well as the affirmative actions we have taken to level the playing field for the disadvantaged members of our society. We shall not lose sight of our progress and continue to fully implement the Magna Carta of Women and other women-related laws down to the barangay level. We join other government agencies and stakeholders, in ensuring that all women and girls have equal access to socio-economic services such as health, education, housing, jobs, resources, capital, markets, technology and information. We recognize women’s agency and capacity to lead in all spheres, including in peace-building and security, and in caring for the environment. As self-determined citizens, women must assert their complete control over their bodies and their lives. We continually promote a culture that is free from gender-based violence and all other forms of discrimination – a duty that is expected from every citizen both in and out of the government.
Together, let us end our mental slavery to patriarchal culture and free ourselves from biases, prejudices, and gender stereotyping that impose barriers on what women and men aspire to do and be, and that limit each one of us from realizing our full potentials. Let us shun masculinity that perpetrates aggression and normalizes sexism in thought, language and actions. Ito ang pagbabago ng kamalayan na kailangang ipaglaban alay sa masagana at mapayapang kinabukasan.
In the spirit of solidarity, heroism and women’s autonomy, let us set aside our differences and work hand in hand in uplifting every woman and girl towards attaining the vision of “matatag, maginhawa, at panatag na buhay.”
May we all have a meaningful and liberating Independence Day celebration.
Mabuhay ang kasarinlan ng bayan at kababaihan!