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Dancer-Advocates Call on Candidates to make their stand known

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Published on Feb 13, 2013

DANCERS-ADVOCATES CALL ON CANDIDATES TO MAKE THEIR STAND KNOWN ON WOMEN'S ISSUES!

At 9am on Valentine's Day, around 200 dancers and leaders of women's organizations stopped traffic at Timog Ave. cor Scout Tobias St. in Quezon City to join the global campaign "One Billion Women Rising" against violence against women.

Dubbed as an independent contribution to the campaign, the flashmob was led by the World March of Women - Pilipinas and participated in by around 50 women's groups.

The international call was received by the lead organizations from the European Women's Lobby.

"This becomes urgent as in the Philippines, one in 10 women aged 15-49 experienced sexual violence, and for deaf women, it is 1 in every 3 women raped, according to Jean Enriquez, National Coordinator of WMW-Pilipinas. "Not only is it Valentine's when we have to clarify what is being misconstrued as love and sex, but is actually violence. It is also important to call on the candidates to take a position on issues of violence against women -- the need to amend the rape law, to pass the anti-prostitution and anti-discrimination bills, and to expand the anti-sexual harassment law."

"There has been increase in violence against indigenous women especially in mining communities, including the recent murder of a pregnant woman in Tampakan. We see the rise in hate crimes against lesbians. There has been steady growth in the prostitution of women and children as the climate and capitalist crises continue," the group statement added.

The dancers started milling around the area dressed as flower and lollipop sellers, cooks and waitresses from the restaurants, and joggers to blend with the crowd. At exactly 9am, a colored beetle, and two electronic jeepneys were stopped by one of the dancers, and women alighted to start dancing. One climbed on top of one vehicle to dance to the tune of "Break the Chain." Crowds gathered as the dancers revealed red shirts with the words "Love is..." in front and "...freedom from violence" at the back, in the middle of the dance.

Towards the end, a streamer was unfurled, which bears this text: "BABAE -- hindi pag-aari, hindi kalakal, hindi laruan... May sariling katauhan!" (Women -- are not properties, commodities, nor objects. She is her own person.")

Other participating groups are the Alliance of Progressive Labor - Women, Bagong Kamalayan, Batis-AWARE, Buklod, CATW-AP, Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA), Kaisa Ka, Sarilaya, Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK), WomanHealth, Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances, Amnesty International -- Pilipinas (AI), BATIS, Kasibulan, Focus on the Global South, Foundation for Media Alternatives, GALANG, ISIS International, Lesbian Activism Project (LeAP), MFA, the Commission on Human Rights, Women's Legal and Human Rights Bureau (WLB), WAGI, WEDPRO, Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), Women's Crisis Center (WCC), Unlad Kabayan and Youth and Students Advancing Gender Equality (YSAGE), and numerous individuals who joined through the event's facebook page. (30)

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