FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 2 March 2009
Contact: Teta Sibugon 411-2796 / 09083098590
Crisis worsens sex trade —CWR initial study
Sex in exchange for a tub of fish.
As the economy takes a turn for the worst, more and more rural women are driven to prostitution. Sexual “favors “are done in exchange for fish, rice, and even coffee.
According to Center for Women’s Resources (CWR), a research and training institute for women, they have been getting initial reports of increased incidence of prostitution in rural areas where food are planted and grown.
“The financial crisis has aggravated the condition of impoverished rural women. Although they produce food for the country, they cannot cope with the crisis because, to start with, they are landless and have been earning so little,” says Jojo Guan, CWR executive director.
“We have been receiving reports that in some parts in Southern Tagalog, women in fishing communities have resorted to provide “massage service” to foreigners in private resorts in exchange for money,” revealed Guan.
Since seashores have been converted to private resorts, and small fisherfolks have been prevented to fish for a living, women started working for the resorts doing laundry. But, washing heavy bed sheets, which is physically taxing, pays too little. As a result, women, and even their young daughters, engage in other income generating activities.
A “massage” in the beach could earn them P300. But if done inside the room, they are paid P700.
But a service could go beyond a “massage.” Allegedly, the women are paid P1,500 to provide sexual “favors” for the customers. Owners of the private resort where the “services” are conducted, even get a commission.
Further, the husbands – who used to be fishermen but are now boatmen bringing tourists to the resorts – are even the ones who “look” for customers who want to get a “massage.”
“Rural women are vulnerable to prostitution because of their impoverished situation. Farmers and fisherman comprise the poorest sector of our country. And across basic sectors, women and children account for the largest poor population,” Says Guan.
According to a CWR study (2008, still unpublished), despite the implementation of Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), rural women remain landless because land inequality remains high and cancellation of titles is rampant. The conversion of land and seashores to ecotourism and industrial use has also contributed to food insecurity of rural women and their families.
CWR also expressed concern over the possible increase in prostitution when the upcoming US-RP Balikatan military exercises will be held in Bicol this summer.
“With the presence of US troops in areas where poverty is high, women are vulnerable to ply the sex trade. In the past, bars mushroomed in areas near the US bases for the foreign troops’ “R & R” (rest and recreation), and prostitution was rampant,” says Guan.
“This coming March 8, women will once again commemorate the International Women’s Day. It is a good time, more than ever, for Filipino women to unite and declare their resistance to all policies that are threatening them to hunger and those that threaten their security, such as the Visiting Forces Agreement,” adds Guan. CWR
06 JANUARY 2009
Contact: Teta Sibugon 411-2796
HR 737 EQUALS VAW
The approval of the House Resolution 737 is a form of violence against women and the Filipino people, said a research and training institute for women.
According to Center for Women’s Resources (CWR), amid the massive landlessness and homelessness that plague Filipino women, HR 737, which seeks to allow foreign corporations and associations to fully own lands in the country, will push women and their families to further poverty.
A CWR study shows that despite government’s land reform, landlessness remains high. In fact, seven out of 10 farmers do not own the land they till. Also, documented homeless Filipino families already stand at about 631,451. By allowing 100% foreign ownership of the country’s land, the representatives who favored HR 737 have robbed Filipino women and their families a land to till and live on.
“The approval of HR 737 is like pimping the country to foreign capitalists, allowing the rape of our sovereignty and the plunder of our natural resources,” says CWR executive director Jojo Guan.
Moreover, CWR disagrees on the resolution’s basis that HR 737 will entice more foreign investments and result to more jobs.
“On the contrary, lesser jobs and more displacements would occur,” says Guan.
“Proponents of HR 737, backed by the palace, are deceiving women by claiming that more foreign investments will save us from the current economic crisis. In fact, our dependence on foreign capital was what made us vulnerable to external shocks, thus, the current massive retrenchment due to the global crisis,” Guan adds.
Guan adds that the government‘s over-reliance to foreign investments led to the neglect of national industrialization, hence, no domestic industries can absorb laid-off workers especially in export processing zones (EPZA). The en masse lay-offs mostly affect women workers who compose 70% of EPZA workers.
CWR also expressed concern that HR 737 will not only open the Constitution to damaging economic amendments, but also to dangerous political ones.
“Women should stay watchful and vigilant in opposing HR 737 which is a betrayal of the aspirations of women and the Filipino people. Any moves to change the constitution at this critical time could lead to an unpopular administration continuing its hold on power,” says Guan. CWR
January 19, 2009
Despite assurance of supply: women complain LPG shortage
No shortage? But women especially mothers in Metro Manila are still finding it difficult to secure liquefied petroleum gases (LPG) despite the assurance of the Department of Energy (DOE) and oil companies themselves that there is no shortage in supply of cooking gas.
When the local retailer told Anne, a sales clerk in San Juan, that they have no supply of LPG, she was forced to bring the fish and vegetables she just bought to a nearby relative’s house to cook. Many mothers, who could not secure LPG as well, are being forced to buy cooked meals from carenderias, prices of which are starting to hike as well, following the rise in prices of cooking gas.
According to Center for Women’s Resources (CWR), a research and training institute for women, if the volume of shipment of LPG that arrived in the country is enough to supply the market demand, then the shortage could only be described as artificial.
“The law of supply and demand is again being applied by companies to gain profit amid the financial crisis. With the supply lower than the demand, women have no choice but to buy LPG even at a higher price,” comments Jojo Guan, CWR executive director.
According to gas suppliers, the price of LPG was adjusted due to higher acquisition costs as supply remains tight within the region. Studies, however, showed that even before the recent P2 per kilo increase, LPG prices were already overpriced by P60.81 per 11-kg cylinder tank.
Compared to the price of LPG in January last year, ranging from P594 to P650, the price went down this year. The decrease in oil prices after record high rates have given women, who are usually in charged of cooking and budgeting, a little respite. But despite the rollbacks, it is still far from the cost that the family could afford. For a family that solely depends on a P362 basic daily wage, an 11-kg cylinder of LPG that now sells between P420 and P510 would already make more than a noticeable dent in their budget. Unscrupulous retailers are taking advantage of the situation, selling a tank of LPG even as much as P580, adding P70 to the overpriced prevalent rates.
According CWR, since the oil industry is deregulated, consumers are vulnerable to the exploitation of oil companies and suppliers.
“Greed is once again the name of the companies’ game. In the midst of the global financial crisis, companies have only one concern – to save their business. And sadly, the Arroyo government cooperates with them by continuously implementing the neoliberal policies of deregulation and liberalization,” says Guan.
Aside from the crisis in oil prices, the previous year also witnessed women queuing for cheap rice as prices surged. According to the International Rice Research institute (IRRI), the prices of the staple are predicted to surge again this year as demand increases and farmers suffers from credit crunch.
CWR notes that the government’s policies of land-use conversion and trade liberalization are among the major reasons that weaken the country’s capacity for food production Even with food insecurity, Philippines has become the world’s biggest rice importer. After entering into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995, the country has been importing an average of 800,000 metric tons. The Department of Agriculture (DA) hiked the rice import quota in 2008 to 2.4 million metric tons.
It doesn’t help that instead of implementing a genuine agrarian reform, the government has merely extended the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) without the compulsory land acquisition component. According to a study done by CWR, CARP did nothing to improve the cash-strapped farmer-beneficiaries. Not only does landlessness remains high, but support services remains wanting. Women are relying heavily on off-farm income and debts to feed their family and finance agricultural production. With the ongoing financial crisis, farmers will have difficulty in securing loans, and agricultural production will be lower.
“As session opens today, women urge the congress to take immediate actions to address the shortage of LPG and the looming rice crisis instead of wasting time on ensuring term extensions through charter change,” said Guan.
Guan adds that “genuine industrialization and agricultural development is the only way to go to address the crisis that beset women.” CWR
16 December 2008
Women disempowered despite CARP – CWR study
CARP extension is no solution to impoverished peasant women and will not translate to empowerment, says a research and training institute for women.
According to a study by the Center for Women’s Resources (CWR), an independent research and training institute for women, the 20-year implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) has hardly uplifted the condition of the underprivileged peasant women….[more]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 15 August 2008
Contact: Jojo Guan / Teta Sibugon 411-2796
MOA: Leads to war and more violence against women and children
The escalating hostilities in Mindanao are endangering the lives of women and children—the inevitable “spoils of war,” according to a study of a research and training institute for women.
“The real picture of the military operations in Mindanao is of mothers and their children scurrying for safety, frightened, and crowded in evacuation centers. If the Arroyo administration is interested in real peace, then the military operations has to cease,” says Jojo Guan, executive director of Center for Women’s Resources (CWR)…… please click here
IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 12 July 2008
Contact: Jojo Guan / Teta Sibugon 411-2796
Scavenging: Women’s means of survival
Left with no other option, 67-year-old Nanay Olympia was forced to work as scavenger to help out her husband Ofring. Tatay Ofring, though already 75 years old, still drives jeepney for a living. Yesterday’s fare hike is no relief for Tatay Ofing who nowadays takes home as low as P40 after more than 15 hours of hard work since the unabated weekly oil price hikes.
Worse, due to stress and missed meals when she goes out to scour the streets for other people’s garbage, Nanay Olympia had a stroke and was rushed to the hospital. This aggravated the couple’s already bitter condition….. click here
ONLY 40% OF GRADUATES WILL GET JOBS – CWR STUDY
Call centers or abroad? These are the limited choices available for women graduates, as only a fraction of the total number of graduates will be absorbed in the labor force, according to an independent research institute for women.
According to the Center for Women’s Resources (CWR), of the 441,186 college/postcollege students who graduated this quarter, less than half or around 40% will obtain jobs. Of the 441,186 graduates, 366,151 are baccalaureate graduates, 56,612 are prebaccalaureate, 2,201 are post baccalaureate, 14,705 are masteral degree graduates and 1,517 are doctoral degree graduates.
Almost half of the 366,151 baccalaureate graduates this year are nursing graduates. The second top graduates are those who pursued a medical degree with 98,283. Business course graduates come in third, with 93,545 graduates.
“It was definitely a mean feat for the graduates to finish their studies. For one, the rate of survival of college students is in constant decline. In 2007, the survival rate was only 16.3%. This is an alarming trend as it is a confirmation that many parents or guardians are having difficulty in sending their children to college,” states Jojo Guan, CWR executive director.
For the graduates who become successful in getting a job, it usually takes eighteen months before they find it.
Recent results of the Labor Force Survey (LFS) revealed that there were only 150,000 net new jobs created in 2007 (January 2007-January 2008). Employment was provided mostly in the service sector. Companies, which mostly employ women such as wholesale industry, manufacturing and garments, resort to contractual work, quota system, part time or seasonal hiring rather than hiring employees on a regular basis. It was estimated that 85% of newly-hired women workers end up as contractuals.
In addition, government consistently boasts of OFWs as the top export of the country. Last year, Labor Secretary Arturo Brion was even disappointed that the demand for nurses needed by the Middle East was not met. Yearly, there are more than a million Filipinos who go out of the country to work abroad and majority of them are women. What was once a temporary relief for the economy has become a permanent solution to the ailing economy.
“What is distressing is that deskilling has become the norm in this country. Women who study for four to five years end up as call center agents here or as caregivers abroad. This is the best that the government can offer to our women,” Guan adds.
The apparent decline of unemployment rate, as government proclaims, gives false hope among women job seekers since the labor market is unstable. It offers contractual work with no benefits and security.
“Women graduates are fazed not just with limited choices but also with the actual possibility that they will end up as another figure in the unemployment and underemployment statistics,” Guan concludes. ###
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