Press Statement
08 March 2023

Today, March 8, International Working Women’s Day (IWWD), Migrante-International salutes the working women of the world and joins women among the working masses in the Philippines and migrant Filipinas abroad in calling on the Bongbong Marcos regime to address their most pressing issues and immediate demands. 

We support women among the working people in the Philippines who are calling for lower prices and higher wages amidst non-stop inflation. While the soaring prices of food and other basic goods affect all working people, these affect working women more. Often managing household finances, working women face the daily problem of how to meet their family’s needs. Tasked with caring for the children and the sick even as they work, they often reduce food consumption and forego spending on personal needs for their families.  

This year, the Philippines is marking IWWD amidst a transport strike against the Marcos regime’s plan to phase out jeepneys and other public utility vehicles. We express our solidarity not only with the country’s jeepney drivers, mostly male, but also with their wives and female partners in providing and caring for their families. Many among these women have been helping augment their family’s meager income, care for the children, and support the jeepney drivers in striking against the Marcos regime’s phaseout scheme. 

Migrante-International supports migrant Filipinas who are fighting for better working and living conditions abroad and against the Marcos regime’s state exactions. Since the so-called feminization of labor migration in the early 1990s, a significant portion, if not the majority, of migrant Filipinos are women. Many migrant Filipinos are employed in domestic work and health services, economic sectors that are considered feminized. Despite the distance, many migrant Filipinas remain involved in leading their families back home.

This is the first March 8 after the end of Rodrigo Duterte’s presidency, the most sexist and misogynist in recent Philippine history. We demand that he be made accountable for his crimes, including the death of thousands under his “war on drugs,” which left many women in deep mourning and needing to become family breadwinners even as they care for children and the elderly. We call for the freedom of Sen. Leila de Lima, Amanda Echanis, Frenchie Mae Cumpio and other women political prisoners jailed by the Duterte regime. We call for justice for women victims of extra-judicial killings under Duterte.

Likewise, Duterte neglected Filipino migrants’ concerns, as shown by his inaction on the case of Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipina migrant and victim of human trafficking currently in prison in Indonesia, and the continuing injustices suffered by Filipino migrants in jail and on death row, many of whom are reportedly women. We call on the government to work for the freedom of Mary Jane and other women migrants in jail and on death row. We call on migrant women and all Filipinas to struggle for a country that creates decent jobs and where forced migration is a memory of the past. 

This is the first March 8 under the Bongbong Marcos regime. We recall that the women’s movement in the Philippines became strongest like never before under the Ferdinand Marcos Sr dictatorship. Women also played important roles in the vibrant movements of workers, peasants, urban poor, youth, migrants and other sectors of society that fought and toppled the dictatorship. We salute all Filipinas who are continuing the fight and we call on all Filipinas to join and wage the fight against the exploitation and oppression of women and for a truly free and democratic Philippines.###