Summary of the Issue (Women’s Agenda for 2016 on the last page)
I. Inclusive Growth
Pres. Aquino promised: “Kayo ang boss ko.” The situation, however, has not
changed much for the majority of the Filipinos. The lauded increases in GDP
was enjoyed only by the wealthy. In fact only 50 families own more than a
quarter if the country’s wealth.1
On the other hand, one out of every four families are considered poor.
The poverty incidence in women is 25.6%.2
II. Employment
About 2.72M Filipinos are unemployed and 37.9% of these are women. 3 The
majority of the employed women are service workers, laborers and unskilled
workers paid with the lowest wages earning as low as P168 a day as compared
to professionals at P771 a day.4
Worse, among those employed, the majority held jobs only on a seasonal/
temporary basis. The jobs created since 2010 lacked security. This is evidence
by the 16.35% increase in seasonal employment, 72.8% increase in
daily/weekly employment as compared to only 4.43% increase in permanent
employment since 2010. Contractualization of jobs, clearly, have greatly
increased. Consequently, regular women workers have decreased.
Even the working conditions for women workers are hazardous. The
International Trade Union Confederation classified the Philippines as one of the
countries with severe working conditions. DOLE revealed that half of 29,234
monitored establishments gad committed a violation of labor standards. In
1 Forbes, 2015.
2 Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), 2015.
3 Labor Force Survey, 2015
4 PSA – Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics

particular, employers in the Southern Tagalog region posted an 83% NONcompliance.

Women as Entrepreneurs

Women have been encouraged to participate in the various micro, small and
medium enterprise (MSMEs) programs. These enterprises, however, when faced
with the multinational corporations holding monopolies on various groups are
seriously unable to compete.
Those who are able to avail of the programs are mostly those who are in the
middle and higher income deciles who are able to meet the requirements of
loan banks and pay the loan amortization. Those women belonging to the
poorest sector simply use the loans to put food on the table. With scarce job
opportunities, these women belonging to the poorest sector, eventually apply
for a new loan to pay for their previous one. Thus creating a cycle of debt that
is nearly impossible to get out of.
IV. Overseas Work
With the background of joblessness and poor wages, women were then
encouraged to apply as OFWs. According to the Survey on Overseas Filipinos,
there are at least 1.7M recorded women OFWs, 6 out of 10 were young women
below 34, and 7 out of 10 worked only as laborers, and unskilled workers. As a
result, these women earned significantly less than their male counterparts who
mostly worked in trade related jobs and machine operators.5
I. Land to the Landless
Peasant families perennially experienced distress from the effects of
landlessness, land-use conversion, lack of government support, low wages,
among other things. Seven out of 10 farmers remained landless in spite of
the extension of the agrarian reform program, CARPER (Comprehensive
Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms), in 2009.

5 Philippine Overseas Employment Agency statistics on OFWS, 2014

In reality, land has remained in the hands of a few. CARPER excluded nonagricultural lands. Multinationals, Corporations and large landholders simply
shifted the use of their properties by converting them into subdivisions, estates
and other infrastructure projects thereby easily circumventing CARPER. The
easy circumvention of CARPER has led to numerous cancellation of farmerbeneficiaries’ Emancipation Patents (EPs), Certificate of Land Ownership
Awards (CLOAs), and Certificate of Land Transfers (CLTs).6
This failure of the agrarian reform programs has resulted in farmers and
fisherfolk regularly listed as the poorest sectors in the country. Farmers earn
only an average of P170 a day while women farmers earn even less at P152 a
day. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, 38% of farmers are poor
while 39% of fisherfolk are poor.
Aid offered for the farmers and fisherfolk were also in the form of MSME
programs. Rural poor women, similar to the urban counterparts, did not use
the loaned amounts as capital but for food and family needs. This led to an
increased the debt incidence, to migration for work and made the women
vulnerable to illegal recruitment and trafficking.
II. Low productivity
Farmers and fisherfolk comprise the bulk (30%) of the country’s working
population. They, however, have very low productivity contributing only 11.3%
to GDP.
The causes for this may be that, government has not given this sector the
corresponding support. On the average, only 5% of the government budget is
given to the 30% working population. For example, 43% of the irrigable land
are still in need of public irrigation (farmers therein are required to pay an
irrigation fee).
Further, an increase in importation has led to tougher competition requiring
larger capital, something these farmers and fisherfolk simply do not have. This
has increased the economic gap between the farmers and their landlords.
6 Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas

I. Health Services
The government has consistently decreased the budget for health services,
instead it has encouraged private investment in the health sector. This took a
heavy toll for the majority who could not afford to pay a professional and
efficient medical worker.
A National Demographic and Health Service research revealed that due to
the privatization of the health sector, 49% of women mentioned financial
difficulty as a barrier for treatment. Instead, these mothers prioritized family
A Center for Women’s Resources’ study in 2015 young women in poor
communities tended to focus on relationships and early sexual practices
because of lack of opportunity for education and absence of activities in their
communities. Likewise the lack of information dissemination or a conservative
view on sex and sexuality created a culture of sexual taboo that resulted to the
youth’s misinformation and miscalculation. Communities should design a
program for the youth so as to divert their attention to more productive
activities such as sports, cultural performances, capacity building, literacy, and
political participation than to focus prematurely on sexual relationships.
II. Housing
Nearly 1/3 of the 100M Filipino population belongs to the urban poor. In an
international website, Metro Manila topped the 25 Cities with Extremely High
Homeless Populations.7
Since 2011, the government has regularly allocated fund for housing of the
urban poor at off-city relocation sites. These relocation efforts, funded by the
government, have mostly failed. The relocated residents mostly returned to
their slums in the metro due to: (1) the off city relocation sites were far from
their means of livelihood, the sites had no access to social services, electricity
and even water, (2) their inability to pay the amortization costs. Consequently,
urban poor groups had been lobbying for an on-site or in-city housing program
instead of the off-city relocation sites.
III. Education
7 List25.com

The K-12 program would result to increased dropouts/out of school youths
because the voucher system in insufficient for education in private schools. The
average voucher at P18,300 per senior high school student is insufficient to pay
for private school fees that average at P35,000. Sadly, this would translate to
more young women missing the chance of education since they comprised a
bigger chunk of enrolees, with an average of 48% in elementary schools (2011–
The World Bank used the issue of poverty to justify the emphasis on the
technical and vocational skills training for the poor. Focusing on just their
technical or mechanical skills would hardly maximize these students potential.
According to the Commission on Higher Education more women (55%) entered
college as compared to men. But, only 18.57% of those enrolled in college
enrolled in courses that would enhance their critical minds as well as develop a
sustainable nation, such as sciences, agriculture, and mathematics. Further,
only 17% of those who enrolled in college eventually finish their degree.
IV. Delayed Emergency Relief
2013 Yolanda victims waited 11 months for relief. COA Audit revealed that
P2.784M worth of relief goods are rotting in DSWD warehouses. A further
P700M funds remain unaccounted for by the DSWD.
Moreover, survivors who tried to return to their coastal communities were
blocked by the government policy of "no-build zone". Such policy stated that
residents shall be forbidden to build along 40 meters from the shoreline.
Apparently, the areas near the shore were assessed as "danger zones" but then,
corporations started to build resorts in the same forbidden zones.
I. Discrimination
One of the most marginalized groups in the Philippines is the Muslim
people, aptly called Bangsamoro people. They live in communities devastated
by war caused by development aggression since their areas are rich in mineral
and natural resources. Making use of the anti-Moro sentiments and terrorist
hysteria, the armed forces conducted military operations in their communities
so as to pave the way for the business establishment of multinational

corporations and their local partners. The organization Suara Bangsamoro
recorded 32 killings and 180 political detainees under the Aquino government.8
II. Senior Citizens and PWDs
Based from the latest records of the Philippine Statistics Office, senior
citizens comprised 4.35% of the total population in the country where majority
or 57.75% of them were women. The government should provide a quality of life
for the elderly, which at present is very limited.
Another group that needed government attention comprised the women with
disabilities. The number of persons with disabilities (PWD) was estimated at
1.2% of the total population where 50.24% were women. 9 Disability became
much difficult when one belonged to the low wealth quintile because of the
expensive privatized social services. Cases of violence and abuse occurred but
most of these remained unreported. Unpublished studies from the Philippine
Deaf Resource Center revealed that one out of three deaf women was raped
and 75% were abused or battered. Awareness on the issue of PWDs,
particularly women with disabilities, still needs to be raised.

Violence Against Women and Children

The number of recorded rape cases increased by 92% from 5,132 in 2010 to
9,875 in 2014, meaning, one woman or child was raped every 53 minutes.
Seven in 10 victims of violence were children. Violations of the Republic Act
(RA) 9262 or Anti-Violence against Women and their Children Act escalated by
200% from 2010 to 2014.10
These numbers are still conservative, in the 2013 National Demographic
and Health Survey, only three in 10 women who experienced physical or sexual
violence sought help to stop the violence. There were 27% who reported that
they never asked for help but told someone, while 38% or four in 10 said that
they never told anyone and they never sought help either. It was also found
8 Ayroso, Dee. "Under Aquino, war in Moro lands continues," www.bulatlat.com, 11
December 2015
9 National Statistics Office, 2010.
10 PNP – Women and Children Protection Center, 2015.

that 8 out of 10 cases of sexual abuse, were perpetrated by the husband or
partner of the victim.
With the number of incidents of violence against women and children in
mind, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that several
thousands of rape cases were filed but only 7,416 of the accused rapists were
in jail (December 2012). Even fewer of these cases reached conviction.
IV. Defending National Sovereignty means defending women’s dignity
The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) allows the
construction of permanent buildings for US troops, bunkering of vessels,
maintenance of vehicles, and the storage and prepositioning of defense
Historically, part of the package for the military forces was the assurance of
their rest and recreation in the host country. As a result, red-light districts
were established in Olongapo City, Angeles City, and Cavite where the US bases
had been set up before
The Center for Women’s Resources predict the revival of these red-light
districts. Initial data gathering by the CWR, the red light districts in Subic and
Angeles City were revitalized. Just like in the past, these places served as “rest
and recreation” (R and R) for US military troops. With the increasing poverty in
the country, prostitution is expected to proliferate. Women become more
vulnerable to deceit and illegal recruitment. The lack of available decent jobs
for women forces them to work in bars, clubs, and entertainment hubs.

Women’s Call for Genuine Change
For the coming leadership in 2016, women once again present the following
1. Empowerment through Employment - Empowering women means providing
them economic opportunities by creating regular, reliable, and respectable jobs
as well as by giving decent living wages. This could only happen when a policy
for national industrialization, which relies on the riches and resources of the
country, will be implemented.
2. Land for the landless tillers - Women comprise half of the peasant sector. They
remain underdeveloped because they are not given the support for the
cultivation of the land that they till. A genuine agrarian reform can only be
possible when the massive lands of the big landlords will be distributed and
when the conversion of agricultural land to subdivisions, entertainment or
industrial centers, among others will be prevented.
3. Accessibility of Quality Services - Women can hardly get accessible and quality
services because of neoliberal policies such as privatization, deregularization,
and liberalization. Services for the marginalized, including the indigenous
women, Moro women, senior citizens, and women with disabilities, should be
given priority.
4. Regain of Respect - More information dissemination and awareness raising
activities on gender need to be conducted for both men and women in the
communities. A subject of gender studies should be included in the curriculum
of the primary level so as to start early in teaching children how to respect
women and to repel homophobia and bigotry.
5. Defending national sovereignty means defending women’s dignity - The one-

sided agreements that favor US government such as VFA and EDCA should be
repealed. Any additional foreign intervention like Japan should be opposed. The
fight against China’s reclamation of the country’s territory should be pursued
through the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS). Foreign
enterprises in the country should be regulated, including its involvement in
construction, real estate, shopping malls and retail trade, semi-manufacturing,
power generation, logging, banking, among many others.