It's a fight to the finish for these females.
In separate videos, veteran actresses Vilma Santos and Dimples Romana expressed solidarity with women's group Gabriela right on its 20th anniversary week. This, as Gabriela recently finds itself embattled with the army, following terrorist accusations made by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Southern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. last week.
"Kaya po sating mga kababaihan, patuloy po ang tagumpay natin dahil po sa pagdami po ng mga babae sa larangan po ng trabaho, sa negosyo, at ganun na rin sa pulitika. Kaya wag nating kakalimutan ang tinatawag na women empowerment—ang patuloy na pagsuporta, patuloy sa pagtaguyod sa kakayahan ng mga kababaihan," said Santos, representing the sixth district of Batangas in Congress.
Santos herself co-authored the SOGIE Equality bill, Magna Carta for Day Care Workers, Maternity Leave Increase bill, and Cancer Awareness bill among others.
Meanwhile, Romana best known for her now-defunct afternoon drama Kadenang Ginto said, “Ako po ay sumasaludo sa inyong patuloy na paninindigan, katapangan, at pagmamahal sa lahat po kababaihang gaya ko, sa lahat po ng kabataan, at para po sa ating bayan."
"Ipinagdadasal ko po na nawa'y protektahan kayo ng Poong Maykapal, sa bawat araw na ipinagtatanggo nyo po ang aming mga karapatan. Sana po ay bigyan pa po kayo ng Dyos ng maraming maraming taon pa na kayo'y aming makasama at makapagserbisyo pa po sa ating bayan, sa mga kababaihan, at sa mga kabataan."
Actors Vice Ganda, Yassi Pressman, Agot Isidro, Lorna Tolentino, Cherry Pie Picache, and Lotlot De Leon; and politicians Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, Rep. Sol Aragones, Rep Geraldine Roman, Rep. Gina De Venecia, and SP Mika Singson have also joined the solidarity campaign by sending their video messages to Gabriela online.
Tirso Cruz III, John Arcilla, rapper Bassilyo, and director Rowell Santiago also expressed their support, representing men in the biz.
AFP has drawn major flak from Gabriela among other groups recently, with AFP's Parlade "defending" ABS-CBN artist Soberano as she participated in a Gabriela-organized talk.
"Let us not red-tag Liza Soberano. It's not fair to her. She is merely supporting advocacy for women's rights. She has to be protected in the exercise of her rights," he said through a statement posted on the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict's (NTF-ELCAC) Facebook page.
"Is (Soberano) an NPA? No, of course not. Not yet. So let's help educate her and the other celebrity targets of Malayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan (MAKIBAKA), the Underground Mass Organization hiding under Gabriela Women's Party," the NTF-ELCAC spokesman said.
Parlade then ended the statement with what was perceived by many as a threat, "The choice is yours Liza. And so with you Catriona. Don't follow the path Ka Ella Colmenares (Locsin) took in the underground and NPA Quezon. I am sure Angel Locsin and Neri Colmenares will not tell you this."
Gabriela Women’s Partylist Representative Arlene Brosas quickly slammed the accusations in a statement, calling Parlade a "macho-fascist" with "the audacity to mansplain strong women and lecture them on what to do."
"And why do they seem so afraid of women using their platform to defend other women?" she said.
"Parlade’s appeal to stop red-tagging Liza Soberano is starkly ironic because he actually red-tagged Soberano in his same statement. By saying that Soberano is 'not yet an NPA,' he is maliciously associating the actress with the armed movement when what she did in the youth forum was to only speak up for all the victims of gender-based violence and abuse," she added.
Brosas also called NTF-ELCAC executives "rabid" for "using their rehashed script to discredit Gabriela Women's Party despite our long track record of advocating women's rights."
Defending himself, Parlade later told ANC's Headstart that he did not red-tag Soberano.
"I feel it’s our responsibility, especially with the national task force, to end local communist armed conflict to inform these people and our netizens about these ways, the modus operandi of this communist party of the Philippines, Gabriela included. That’s my only purpose. Wala akong ni-red bait, wala akong ni-red tag.”
Gabriela, which stands for General Assembly Binding Women for Reforms, Integrity, Equality, Leadership, and Action, was named after Filipina revolutionary Gabriela Silang who fought in place of her husband Diego in the Filipinos' fight versus the Spanish. The group was founded in 1984 when around 10,000 women marched in Manila to resist then President Ferdinand Marcos' decree against demonstrations.
Gabriela has since been known for fighting for women's rights while pushing for social transformation. It launched as a party list in 2003.
Banner image courtesy of MEGA Magazine