[News] Liza Largoza Maza of GABRIELA - Resist the Iron Hand

Anti-Imperialist News News at freedomarchives.org
Tue Feb 28 20:46:47 EST 2006

This speech was delivered by Representative Liza
Largoza Maza of the GABRIELA Women's Party at the
Congress of the Philippines, even as elements of the
military and
police waited to arrest her and four other
representatives of the progressive political parties
Bayan Muna and Anakpawis.   Ms. Maza is also
Vice-chairperson of the GABRIELA Philippines National
Women's Alliance.   Please disseminate.


Privilege Speech
by Gabriela Women's Partylist Rep. Liza Maza
February 27, 2006

Mr. Speaker, distinguished colleagues:

I rise today on a question of personal and collective
privilege, with much alarm, indignation and defiance
over the recent actions that the Arroyo government has
taken in the past three days.

On Friday, in the midst of commemorations of the 20th
anniversary of the People Power uprising, Malacanang
(Presidential Palace) issued Proclamation 1017,
placing our country in a State of Emergency. The irony
is not lost on us. That we are being placed under
Martial Law as we commemorate the ouster of the Marcos
dictatorship is not only ironic, it is tragic as well
as unforgiveable.

Saturday morning, we awoke to reports of the raid on
the newspaper Daily Tribune and the arrest of our
fellow representative in this assembly, Anakpawis
(workers) Congressman Crispin Beltran who had been
rudely picked up, illegally arrested and invited for
interrogation by elements of the CIDG.

Call it what you want, Mr. Speaker, distinguished
colleagues, what was done to Representative Crispin
Beltran was a testament to the Arroyo government’s
lack of respect for the rights of the members of this
Congress and of the people in general.

At the end of the press conference by the House
Minority members, we learned that we ­ myself,
Representatives Satur Ocampo, Rafael Mariano and Teddy
Casino ­ were slated for arrest outside the Sulu Hotel
that evening.  Because we knew that what the police
and the military wanted to do was unwarranted, illegal
and outrightly violates our rights, we deemed it best
to look for other ways to exit the place, thus
avoiding the Arroyo regime’s minions who were
attempting to pick us up illegally that Saturday.

Last night, in the middle of what is now known as the
Fort Bonifacio stand-off, Presidential Chief of Staff
Mike Defensor announced that the Arroyo government was
intent on arresting me and my fellow representatives
Satur Ocampo, Teddy Casino and Rafael Mariano.
Representative Joel Virador has already been arrested
this afternoon.

If to rise in this Congress on behalf of womankind is
a crime, so be it.

As the women’s representative even during the 12th
Congress, I have been among those who sponsored and
fought for two pieces of legislation for women:  the
Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act and the Anti-Violence
Against Women and Children Act. I was also among the
authors of the Juvenile Justice Act, which is close to
approval by this congress and which will respond to
the issue of children who are in prison for crimes.  I
was also chosen to be part of the bicameral committee
which will tackle the said bill.

As representative of the Gabriela Women’s Party, I
have persevered, within this congress, in advancing
and fighting for legislation which will both bring
relief and respond to women’s complaints:  the 125
pesos increase in the minimum wage for workers and
3,000 pesos increase in the salary of government
employees. Our party also continues to call for the
junking of E-VAT (12% tax on everyday necessities) and
for price controls on LPG (cooking gas) and kerosene.

On Wednesday, first day of March, women’s month
begins.  This March 8th, the whole world will
celebrate International Women’s Day.  This is a day
made historic by the principled stand of women workers
for wage increases, better working conditions and
decent livelihood ­ calls which remain alive today and
which continue to be fought for by womankind and by
the people.  The tradition of a hundred years of
struggle symbolized by March 8th will continue so long
as the reasons to struggle remain.

Mr. Speaker, fellow representatives, I am among the
many and increasing number of women who are speaking
out, who want and are calling for change.  Is this a
crime?  Shouldn’t arrest and punishment be inflicted
upon those who implement policies depriving women and
their families of their basic rights?

The women’s call for food, shelter, jobs, wages,
health and education is just and legitimate.  Is this
what the Arroyo regime wants to suppress?

Mr. Speaker, distinguished colleagues, to dream and to
struggle for a better society that I can leave my
children, our children and the future generations is
not a crime. It is a noble cause that all of us, women
and men alike, as members of this chamber and as
citizens of this country, must espouse, take to heart
and act on.

I really might be arrested by the Arroyo regime’s iron
hand after this speech, per the announcement last

But even then, it will not mean that women will fall
silent or will be afraid. Mr. Speaker, fellow
representatives, expect the women’s call for basic
rights, civil rights and true freedom to continue and
indeed grow louder.

The Gabriela Women’s Party and countless women will
rise up to defy repression and to trash Proclamation
1017, in defense of our rights.  The call I will leave
you tonight is the same that women will continue to
call out, in the dark of our state:  MAKIBAKA, HUWAG
MATAKOT!   Dare To Struggle, Do not fear


Tagalog sections translated by Ninotchka Rosca


Women's Anti-Imperialist League  (WAIL)
wailcentral at yahoo.com
Member, International League of Peoples Struggles
The road to women's liberation lies through the 
terrain of the anti-imperialist struggle. -- WISAP2004

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