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International Women's Day in Asia 1998
privatisation, particularly of public utilities, will drive them more to the edge. Selling public properties to international capitalists will cause further damage to the ailing economy.

3. Reconsider the benzene tax increase and scrape all oil tax increases. The government should collect taxes from the rich and examine the properties of unusually rich businessmen, politicians and government officials such as senior officials of the Bank of Thailand.

4. Half-yearly adjustment of wages in accordance with inflation. This is to provide fundamental guarantee of a decent life with dignity for workers who have made great contribution to the country's economic prosperity.

5. Adopt strict measures against violations of child and women labour laws by allowing union representatives to participate in the monitoring of business enterprises.

6. Set up sufficient and high quality child care centres in highly populated areas or in business enterprises with 300 employees or more.

The government did indicate that they would solve the problems, particularly those concerning lay-off.

(Source: Friends of Women Foundation)


Nationwide rallies and cultural events organised by GABRIELA drew around 10,000 Filipino women together in the annual celebration of IWD. In the Manila rally, Secretary General Liza Maza addressed the issues confronting Filipino women today:

"The whip of economic crisis hits hardest on women today with a government who is adamant in further opening up the Philippines to global competition but only succeeds in selling out the country's natural and human resources, particularly the women."

The rallyists, around 3000 in all, were composed of peasant women, workers, urban poor, youth, professionals and advocates from Metro Manila. They were presented with a cultural performance by Sining Lila, depicting the plight of the Filipino women under US-Ramos sponsored

policies on issues such as foreign investment and capital, liberalisation, privatisation and deregulation, labour flexibility, etc.

For the upcoming presidential election, GABRIELA took the occasion of the IWD to release a six-point Women's Criteria that aimed to reveal the real issues crucial to Filipino women today:

    Respect and promote Women's rights
  1. Uphold children's rights
  2. No track record of human rights violations
  3. Supportive the P100 wage increase
  4. Stand for genuine agrarian reform
  5. Against all unequal economic treaties that undermine the country's economic sovereignty

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