A day before the celebration of International Women's Day, JSAPMDD joined more than 500 women members of the Freedom from Debt Coalition in a march rally along the streets of Manila to call on government to honor its social debt to Filipino women who bear the heavier burden of the deficiencies of past and present administrations.
The protestors, who marched from España Boulevard to Mendiola, also demanded from the government automatic appropriations for social and economic services as a solution to the government's accumulating "social debt."
Social debt is defined by the demonstrators as debt to the people or unfulfilled obligation of the government to its citizens. It results from the government's continued honoring of financial obligations, including odious and illegitimate debts.
In a FDC statement, Manjette Lopez, FDC vice president, said that women, for a long period of time, have taken on the responsibility for the well-being and development of their families as they provide for food, health care, shelter and education for their children. These also comprise the basic and essential needs of the Filipino people, of which government is obligated to ensure.
Citing data and figures that show how government has failed to fulfil its obligations to women, the protestors deplored past and present administrations for prioritizing debt servicing over much-needed allocations for basic services.
Manjette said the stark difference in allocations have resulted in high maternal mortality, children not completing education, increasing number of street dwellers, and a wide gap between rich and poor.
Women leaders from various organizations who spoke during the rally pointed out the rights of women such as right to food, education, health and housing that are enshrined in legal instruments like the Philippine Constitution, Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (IESCR) and the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. They demanded that government uphold and fulfil these rights that have long been denied to women.