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Workers’ Digest
Special Issue (English Version of Issue # 32)
March 2010

On International Women’s Day
Reproductive health and wage hike pushed by women workers

A wage hike and reproductive health were the main concerns raised by women members of the Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) [Labor Party-Philippines] in celebration of international women’s day. More than a hundred women workers and urban poor held a picket at the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) which was followed by a rally at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) offices to highlight the two demands.

“The demand for a wage hike and reproductive health set the context for this year’s commemoration of women’s day. The twin issues are appropriate since they frame the productive and reproductive roles of women in the family and society,” explained Judy Ann Miranda, PM secretary-general.

In women’s day activities by PM chapters in the provinces, additional working women issues were brought to the fore. In Cebu, women urban poor trooped to the campout of Alta Mode garment workers in the Mactan Export Zone for a women’s day program. In Bacolod, women agricultural workers marched to the provincial capitol for a dialogue on the demand for subsidy due to the effect of El Nino. High water and electricity rates and the failure of privatization were highlighted as heavy burden to working women in Davao. Meanwhile in Iligan, PM members joined the women’s day parade that called for the election of the first woman councilor ever in the city.

At the CBCP office in Intramuros, Manila, PM members asked Catholic bishops to “bless” a set of condoms. They then marched to the DOLE where the protesters banged pots and pans to symbolize the call for a wage increase and a revamp of the wage fixing mechanism. From Intramuros the rally went straight to Mendiola via Ayala Bridge, blowing whistles and creating noise along the way to draw attention to the women’s challenge to the candidates in the coming elections.

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