Time to Shout #BabaeAko (I am a Woman)

coolasas
Posted June 14, 2018 from Philippines
#BabaeAko

We just celebrated the 120th independence of the Philippines from Spain after America bought the country from them in 1898. By July 4th, 1949 the Americans liberated us after fighting off Japanese off the island. 

At that time, many Filipino women were subjected to imprisonment to become comfort women to the Japanese imperialist. They provided sexual favors to the Japanese, raped and even left for dead after they were used. These are women of good standing in their community - single and married women were rounded from their homes and villages and was taken captives for the pleasure of the Japanese when they occupied the Philippines in 1941 until the Americans liberated us again and made to pay for all the damages they (Japanese) caused in the country. 

But the women who suffered during those times were never compensated. In fact, they don't want only money. The memories, the horror they suffered cannot be measured by few hundred dollars (or yen) to make them forget. Generations have fought off these horrors in their families.  All they were asking was an acknowledgment that it happened and that the Japanese were sincerely sorry.  The government of the Philippines and South Korea urge the government of Japan to do the right thing, and until now we are waiting. Read more about it here A wartime issue still unresolved

Women have always been a pawn in any war and even in peace. 

More recent events in the Philippines put the fight of women against misogyny in the forefront again. We launched a new campaign #BabaeAko to fight off anything and everything misogynistic actions towards girls and women. This campaign is difficult because the one perpetrating misogyny is the president himself. A populist politician loved by many and adored like a demi-god. 

The campaign was brewing since the current president sat in his throne of power in 2016. Although this president is not new to power. He's been mayor of one of the biggest province in the south of the Philippines (Davao) and had a reputation of being a hoodlum and a womanizer. He brags on both and claimed women just love him they fall in his feet and yet he declared how much respect he has for his mother, how ironic?

Because of his actions and his barbed words in describing women, Filipinas are bonding to fight off misogyny using the social media for wider reach. Especially for those who cannot go to the streets to protest like many are doing now to show that we too are not happy to be subject to the presidents fancy and insults!

How did it start?

If you're following the Philippines politics, you will know that the current government is culling all women in the high position. From women-led news portal www.rappler.com claiming they twist stories. Well, in fact, they are truthfully telling stories as it happens when it happens but I guess knowing that they are being watched and reported in real time made them fidgety. To the Chief Justice - Ma. Lourdes Sereno regardless of her good track record but she does not side with the current administration quality of governance, was taken out of her office based on personal grudges from judges aligned to the current government to the Quo Warranto launched by the president bulldog undermining the constitution, and ignoring the rule that she can only be removed by impeachment. It doesn't help that the legislative body and executive body are in cahoots to please our demigod of a president. Despite intellectuals and academics explanations that the QW was unconstitutional and should not have been heard by the supreme court, no action is being done. Now the justice branch of the government is corrupted and now in cahoots with the rest of the bodies. 

He was not able to get the woman head of the Ombudsman Conchita Morales ousted because she's almost retiring, but she was not spared from his barbed words and innuendos. Listen to her interview from CNN https://youtu.be/5V0LpqIdcFc

But those are women and institution in a position of power themselves. What happens if they don't hold any position, worst if they are on the other side of the law? For the president, he doesn't care. He will say whatever he wants about women as if he has no mother, no sister, no wife, no mistress, no daughter, no granddaughter.  He thinks women are less of a person from men. And when he is called upon his utterance, everything is said to be said in jest -- he is "just joking"  His abuse of women are jokes to him ... you be the judge.

On murdered Australian missionary when the current president was mayor of Davao

On rebel women 

The kissing incident in South Korea 

The last story broke the camels back so to speak, and #BabaeAko gained traction. It was disgusting. One woman posted her disgust online, telling us that listening to a president who can use some training in public speaking (he loves to swear) and watch someone in less powerful position agree to something I am sure she has some cognitive dissonance before getting herself embroiled to it was something not right and I agree with her.

The kiss, despite the woman's reluctance, is a picture of power play - forcing himself on the woman. It the "damn if you do and damn if you don't moment" and the weakness of resolve win over her. Worst is, after all the clamor from social media, from women all over the country and the world that what was done to her was wrong, the woman on the stage defended the action of the president. She accepted that it was the right thing to do -- instant fame! For the price of her dignity. 

Sure it will be forgotten soon enough. All the actions and utterance of our president is newsworthy these days there's too many to keep track of his booboos in the TV, but he is never penalized for his action. No one goes against him - or you will be threatened, not by him alone but his million of trolls populating the internet these days. Despite the comparison to what the American president said "of grabbing women," our current president is not swayed because when he says something and never takes them back, instead like I said earlier, labels them as joke or sarcasm and people, women especially suck it all up and still clap and laud him as if they are in a trance.   

I pity my countrymen and women when they do that. Like I pity the woman in South Korea and the other women who defended him and his actions including his girlfriends and former wives because they are those who don't know any better. 

I laud women who fight back and there are many of us - in different form and mine is in writing. I cannot say this action will change the current president or his cohorts into thinking that women are commodities or are weaker than men.  But I am sure slowly women in the Philippines are getting stronger in their convictions that they are not any more comfort women, they are not some bitch who can be ordered around. 

I believe this president of ours is not capable of love. But he thinks he knows how to love or is loved by many. Maybe his mother did love him, but I am sure if she were alive she would be repulsed by his son's actions towards women, towards her kindred spirits. 

Visit another post on the Philippine Independence Day here

 

Comments 27

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  • jlanghus
    Jun 15
    Jun 15

    Hi Coolasas. How are you doing? Thanks for sharing your story and spreading awareness about the political climate in your country. That definitely doesn't sound good:( Those poor women that have suffered and most assuredly still have unaddressed PTSD if they haven't addressed the trauma, for a start. I kept wondering if the President won't take responsibility for his actions and there are consequences for speaking up, couldn't people start using social media more to shame him and other politicians that aren't helping women, like they are in other parts of the world? Also, you may want to consider submitting this story for the current "Wealth of Women" story awards since it has to do with women's economic empowerment, for sure, and ways how it can be improved: https://www.worldpulse.com/en/voices-rising/story-awards/85951. Please keep us posted.

  • coolasas
    Jun 15
    Jun 15

    The president will not address any of the negative issues thrown on him even with glaring evidence that it affects the people and the nation as a whole. When a narcissist rules a country, he thinks he is the answer to all the country's problem - that is our president. He thinks he's beyond reproach at the same time refuse the acknowledge that he is human that when he commits a mistake, he asks forgiveness. That is the word that does not exist in his vocabulary.
    Let alone provide for the care and welfare of his people -- good thing Philippines have good private and NGO providing support to people in need of mental health support. It is not enough, but we are trying hard. Women as bonding but the government also have sets of women who go against our cause to be seen as an equal to men and can think for herself. That's the sad reality that we hope with this campaign change.
    Help spread the word #BabaeAko in support of the girls, and women of the Philippines and of the world that are oppressed and marginalized.

  • jlanghus
    Jun 16
    Jun 16

    Hi Coolasas,

    Yes, it definitely doesn't sound good. How long is this guy in office? Is there a campaign page or just the hashtag#BabaeAko? I couldn't find one. Thanks!

  • coolasas
    Jun 18
    Jun 18

    Presidency in the Philippines has 6 years term and you can be re-elected 3 times. He's pushing for change in the constitution to promote federalism and extend his and his cronies term indefinitely. He has China to emulate when it comes to authoritarianism.

    It's a Twitter hashtag movement. It is used #BabaeAko when sending a strong message about the government misogyny. But I agree there's no specific campaign page for this movement.

  • jlanghus
    Jun 19
    Jun 19

    Oh:( Okay, thanks for the clarification. I wish there was a petition against this president or a campaign page to make more of an impact.

  • Robin Parisse
    Jun 15
    Jun 15

    I realized that I have never heard of the history of depravity in the Philippines. Yes, there is rumbling about your current leader, but the undercurrent or the belly of the matter is, unfortunately, the old story repeated worldwide. Please continue to write. Maybe publish a series of short stories (articles) starting with 1898-liberation and the continued impact; What it means to be a strong woman in the Philippines today, etc. Seek worldwide public forums to publish this series -- BBC, NY Times, etc. And, continue to share on World Pulse so we can virtually send you strength and acknowledgment. Thank you for educating me. Thank you for your efforts to shift the norms -- a slow process but you are a change agent to make it happen! Thank you for that. We are with you.

  • coolasas
    Jun 15
    Jun 15

    Thank you for the word of encouragement. I would love to get the perspective of simple folks on the issue of #BabaeAko and take it from there. When can I do that? I am not sure but I will keep that in mind.

    Please help our campaign to get the word out on #BabaeAko in support of the girls and women from my country and for all the girls and women worldwide.

  • Tarke Edith
    Jun 15
    Jun 15

    Helo Cooliasas thank you for sharing your story on the problems that women are facing in Philippine ,if the President does care about the welll being of the woman then he must be very wrong a president who does not take care of every citizen equally is n ot fit to rule the people sis dispite the comments made by ma Lourtes Seneno he does not give a listing ear. Dear sisters we will not give up expecially when we are rape or use as sex mechines we should stay fucose

  • coolasas
    Jun 15
    Jun 15

    Those who did not vote for him already knew how bad he is for the country. For those who did vote for him, I hope they are realizing now how poorly they have used their right in choosing the wrong leader for our country.
    In every nation, we need a leader who can show the vision he wants for the country and let the nation believe him and follow him. Instead what we have is a divisive leader if we can call him that.
    We keep pushing forward to hopefully change the narrative on girls and women in my country. Please helps spread #BabaeAko to support my countrywomen and girls and to support the rest of the girls and women population all over the world that is oppressed and marginalized.

  • Stephanie Mah
    Jun 16
    Jun 16

    Dear coolasas thanks for sharing your story. It really a hard time , but you took a bold step keep up , if every womem were like you , then the world would have change. Really the mother would have been ashame if she was still alive. Thank you for standing up for that women in Philippine. More courage.

  • coolasas
    Jun 18
    Jun 18

    Thank you, Stephanie, for the encouragement and nice words.
    We do a little bit for a bigger cause and I pray that doing this help with the traction of the movement for my country and the world to change the narrative we have on women.

    Cheers, Coolasas

  • Beth Lacey
    Jun 18
    Jun 18

    Good luck with your important work.

  • coolasas
    Jun 18
    Jun 18

    Thanks

  • Sophie Ngassa
    Jun 18
    Jun 18

    Hello, Coolasas,Yes! you area woman. Thanks for the struggles women face especially during times of crisis. We are always the most affected.

  • coolasas
    Jun 21
    Jun 21

    And with this sisterhood we are trying to change the narrative for the future generation of women.

    Thank you for visiting my page.

    Love, Coolasas

  • AGNES TUMASANG
    Jun 19
    Jun 19

    Dear it is said to get this but it is co,,on with women we just need to put ower voices togather in other to fight this, Lists keep up,

  • coolasas
    Jun 21
    Jun 21

    Let's do that.
    I will try to find out with my active friends in the campaign.
    Thanks always!

    Coolasas

  • Obisakin Busayo
    Jun 19
    Jun 19

    Hi Coolasas
    Hope you are doing well. Thanks for sharing your story and the awareness of political situation in your country with us. It is so pathetic the way the president is treating women and it is so annoying that some people is still hailing him. Thank you my sister for speaking and standing against what is injustice against humanity. More strength and power for you!!!

  • coolasas
    Jun 21
    Jun 21

    This is a wave of times - populism is on the rise, and they are riding on the weaknesses of the country, and ours is poverty.
    Despite the Philippines being a highly educated country, we have a lot of stupid politicians and we have a lot of poor. 41 percent of young people do not work, and 40 percent of girls are not in school. We thought we are already getting out of the rut with our last government until the new one was ushered in playing on the emotions of the poor people in my country.
    It is becoming pathetic because there are more controversies - sex scandals, swearings, misogyny, corruption and martial law than a real vision for the future of my country.
    I am doing what I know I can for the time being - to write about it!
    Thank you for the well wishes.

  • joyce nelly
    Jun 20
    Jun 20

    Hi Coolasas that was a master piece there .You have given us the us the insight of philippine history something some of us had never read or heard of it before .It's a real pity that a president some who who is to uphold and promote peace and justice is the same one looking down and having no respect for women .philippine thus need many more women like you who will continue to write and speak out for the world to see and read.yiu are really the voice to the voiceless women in philippine. More courage to continue your work .

  • coolasas
    Jun 21
    Jun 21

    Thank you for the well wishes.
    I am looking forward to more positive reactions to the failing situation in my country that affects not only women but all of us.

  • Ndimofor Aretas
    Jun 21
    Jun 21

    Dear Coolasas,
    Thank you for letting the world know about what is really going on. It takes brave souls like you to do this.
    I am really shocked by what the women in your community have been and are still going through. Although it is going to take quite a while for any worthwhile results to show up, I strongly believe you are on the right track with the #BabaeAko campaign.
    I just wish to find out a few things:
    Are there any other persons or organizations involved in this campaign?
    How do the victims or their relatives participate in the campaign?

  • Adanna
    Jun 21
    Jun 21

    Dear Coolasas,

    Thank you for sharing this! I am glad you are speaking out and creating more awareness about #BabaeAko

    No matter how little, I will spread the word about #BabaeAko in support of the girls, and women of the Philippines and of the world that are oppressed and marginalized.

    Well done sis.

    Love,
    Adanna

  • Olubee
    Jun 22
    Jun 22

    ..Dear Coolasas
    You are indeed a courageous woman .Its really surprising that such atrocity is going on in your country. No matter what keep on writing,sharing and let the whole world know what is going on in the phillipines. It is a matter of time before justice will prevail.Get more groups involve in the fight.Share online let the whole world share in the fight against abuse of women,and corruption as a whole.
    Best wishes
    Bukola.

  • Omar Mutunz Duni
    Jun 23
    Jun 23

    Bonsoir Madame Coolasas.

    Courage pour l'effort fournie pour promouvoir les droits des femmes ,
    Veuillez plaider aussi pour nous qui sommes marginalisées dans notre secteur dans notre pays en République Démocratique du Congo.surtout en leadership, et autres seances des renforcements des capacités des femmes leaders.

    nos contacts: +243992613984
    +243859387124
    omardunia88@gmail.com

    APSEMEAD RDC.

    Courage les femmes, nous sommes prête de la solutions

  • JulieG
    Jun 27
    Jun 27

    Dear Coolasa,

    This is a very powerful summary of an important global issue we should all care about. I applaud you and the activist women of the Philippines for speaking up! We are cheering you on here, and send our prayers that the tides will shift to a world where you voices are heard and leaders like this lose all power and respect.

    Warmly,

  • Marietta
    Jul 05
    Jul 05

    brilliant