GABRIELA USA holds third national congress, calls for self-determination

SAN FRANCISCO – Members of different GABRIELA USA chapters across the country gathered in San Francisco for the organization’s third national congress.

The theme of the congress was entitled “Abante: Women Defend Democratic Rights for our Dignity and Self-Determination.”

These women celebrated four years of victories in advancing the struggle against U.S. militarization of the Philippines, violence against Filipino women, and the systematic trafficking of Filipinas.

“The fight for Filipino women’s issues and struggles is so deeply connected with the freedom of people in the Philippines and also the general uplift of our Filipino-American communities in the U.S.,” said Valerie Francisco, Chairperson for GABRIELA USA. “Filipino women are playing an essential role in leading that movement and leading our communities, our families for a better world.”

Maria Isabel Lopez, 1982 Binibining Pilipinas and current activist/actress, added, “It is time that women now deal with the social issues facing them. The abuses made on women and also the traditions and expectations of our role have been a setback to women’s progress.”

Bai Ali Indayla, Bangsamoro activist from the Maguindanaon region of Mindanao, gave the keynote address which touched on the recent attacks on the Lumads who are defending their ancestral lands from mining corporations.

“This have been the issues of Morro women we are facing in our communities like the landlessness, the unemployment or jobless-ness and the basic social services that are not present in our communities,” said Indayla. “This is the reason is why Morro women remain to be the poorest of the poor and the reason why until today we are still marginalized in these services.”

Indayla is also the third nominee for the GABRIELA Women’s Partylist, which gives representation to marginalized groups in the Philippines’ House of Representatives.

The Congress culminated in the election of new officers and the adoption of nine resolutions to support various campaigns such as defending the Lumad people, helping migrant workers, and extending solidarity to black liberation movements.

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  • Santiago Del Mundo
    14 June 2016 at 8:48 am - Reply

    If today US militarization completely stops in the Philippines, how would Gabriela help the Philippines against China from taking over the disputed islands? How about during typhoon Yolanda, was Gabriela able to deliver help and relief supplies in any capacity? Remember, U.S. Navy ships provided help before the Philippines could anything…We support Gabriela in their efforts to stop abuses and trafficking….always!