July 24, 1997

On President Fidel V. Ramos’ last State of the Nation Address this coming July 28, he will be pronouncing the major achievements of the current government via the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan. MTPDP’s goal was a better life for the Filipino people through "people empowerment". It’s vision: to attain the status of NIChood by the year 2000.

Complimentary to MTPDP, the Ramos government also came up with the "do-able" Social Reform Agenda aimed at addressing the needs of diadvantaged sectors’ minimum basic needs (MBN). The MBN approach prioritizes the primary reguirements for survival (health and nutrition, water and sanitation), for security (income security, shelter, peace and development) and for enabling needs (basic education and literacy, participation in governance). The SRA has a 3-point agenda: 1] basic sectors must have access to quality basic services; 2] they must have access to productive sources and economic opportunities and 3] they must be able to participate in self-governance.

Specifically for the Filipino women, the Ramos government opted to continue the Aquino government’s Philippine Development Plan for Women or PDPW. PDPW objective was to "address the concerns of women for equality and development across six major spheres: individual, family, socio-cultural, economic, political and legal". In 1995, the Ramos government complemented PDPW with the Philippine Plan for Gender Responsive Development which aims at relating the gender issues to globalization.

In the 5 years of the Ramos government, all these grand policies and programs will supposedly assure women of a better life. But reality paints a different picture.

PROMISES Eddie Made (and the stark naked truth)


"redistribute productive resources"

Out of 11.2 M total labor force in agriculture: 8.5 Million are landless, comprising almost 76% of the total labor force in agriculture
the tenancy system based on a 70/30 and 60/40 sharing scheme in favor of the landlord is still predominant.
total land area planted to rice and corn will be reduced by 65%. This means an acute shortage of our country’s food supply.
the previous target of 10.3 million hectares for CARP distribution dropped to 8.1 million hectares of land under the Ramos government’s new law exempting fishponds and prawn pawns and the land-use and crop-conversion policies; of these, 47% has yet to be distributed
as early as December 1993, CLT’s, CLOAs and EP’s were confiscated from 22,991 farmers covering 32,041 hectares

"increase the poor’s access to services"

basic utilities are now being privatized such as the National Power Corporation, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage Systems, and the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company.
with the continued and succesive increases in the price of oil, rate of electricity and public transportation continues to soar with it: since August 1996, electricity rate increased by 6.22 centavos per kilowatt hour for industry and 4.4 centavos for the whole country; minimum fare increased by 50 centavos last November
government institutions are likewise being privatized, including government hospitals, colleges, and universities
12,000 barangays (out of the total 43,000 nationwide) have no elementary schools; of the 33,000 elementary schools only 21,600 can provide complete primary education (from grade1 to grade 6), the rest can only provide up until grade 4
the cost of sending one child from pre-school to high school is from P44,000 to P392,000 (excluding books, notebooks and other school supplies); it would entail at least another P120,000 to finish a 4-year college education
there are 15 million urban poor in the country, 65% of whom live in "slums" and "squatter areas"
last year alone, there is an estimated 10,000 families (or 60,000 men, women, and children) in Metro Manila lost their homes due to the "beautification and clearing-up program of the government during the 4th APEC Summit held here
an estimated 600,000 urban poor families (2/3 of a million men, women, and children) will lose their homes by next year due to five major development projects under Philippines 2000

"sustained and broad-based growth of output and employment"

of the total 3,355,000 unemployed labor force in the country, 44.41% (or 1.49M) are women
the unemployment rate for women is 12.76%, and for men, 9.79%
47.7% or 10,630,000 of the women population aged 15 years old and above are not counted as labor-force (housewives, students and disabled), majority of these women are considered as domesticated women because society still sees women as domestic workers first and working for a living as secondary.
From January to September 1996 alone, 880 establishments were reportedly closed and/or their workers laid off for economic reasons. 446 of these establishments are engaged in the manufacture of wearing apparel/garments, food, chemical and chemical products, textile, electronics, and beverage. 70.2% of the workers in two of the biggest industries - wearing apparel/garments and textiles - are women
when the government sold MWSS to Lopez/Lyonnaise , Ayala/Bechtel more than 5,700 workers of the MWSS are bound to lose their jobs or their status as regular employees
there is now an estimated 300,000 prostituted women and children
With the government’s Tourism Master Plan, the number of "commercial sex workers" and "guest relations officer" increased: the number of CSW’s in Cebu increased from 1,557 in 1992 to 2,189 in June 1994 to 2,988 in June 1996 in Cebu (excluding the 1,500 not registered CSW’s); in Davao the number increased from 868 in 1993 to 1,525 in the first half of 1996
in 1994, 73,951 of the OCW’s deployed outside the country were domestic helpers, 52,964 were entertainers
OCW’s comprise 10% of the population or 7.1 M Filipinos

"recognize and promote the emerging special employment arrangements that would enhance flexibility and competitiveness of enterprises …" (italics ours)

40 out every 100 export-oriented establishments employs subcontracting schemes
65.83% or 18,009,771 total employed labor force were hired on a contractual basis
nearly 25,000 women workers in nine garment factories alone in Metro Manila face the risk of losing their regular employment status due to "labor flexibilization" schemes
of the 472 firms in the government-managed export processing zones, the 73% of the total work force are women and mostly hired on contractual status
23,000 out of 24,500 garment manufacturer in central Luzon and Southern Tagalog resort to sub-contracting, using home-based workers



bills and resolutions on women

From July 1992 to December 1994, a total of 302 bills and resolution on women were filed in both Senate and Congress. Of these only 1 was enacted into law (RA 7688 Representation to Women in Social Security Commission).

Of the hundreds of bills and resolutions on women filed in both Houses in 1995, only 2 were enacted into law (RA7878 Anti Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 and RA 7882 which provides for the assistance to women engaging in micro and cottage business enterprise).

From January to June of 1996 108 bills and resolutions on women were filed on both Houses. Only 1 was enacted into law (RA 8187 which grants paternity leave).

The bicameral version of the Anti-Rape Bill (an already watered-down version), after almost 10 years of deliberation, was not approved. It will once again be deliberated by both Houses.

On the other hand, laws on privatization, deregulation and liberalization took no time to be enacted as laws (i.e. RA 8180 or Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act of 1996, RA 7942 or Mining Act of 1995, RA 8178 or Agricultural Tarrification Act, RA 8181 or Import Liberalization Act). Presently, moves to amend the Philippine Constitution is being given much attention with no less than President Ramos, himself, endorsing charter change.

in relation to existing laws

RA 6725 (An Act Strengthening the Prohibition on Discrimination at Work Against Women with Respect to Terms and Conditions of Employment)

women workers in the Cavite Export processing Zones experience discrimination in hiring and job security
giving priority in hiring women who are single and younger
older workers and married women workers are first to be retrenched
women’s earnings are generally lower than men’s in top executive and managerial positions (24% of men’s earnings) and in the lower rungs of the occupational tier

RA 7877 (Anti Sexual Harassment Act of 1995)

women workers in an electronic firm owned by a Japanese corporation in the Mactan Export Processing Zone are required to go through "virginity tests" to assertain that they are not married

RA 6955 (Act declaring Unlawful the Practice of Matching Filipino Women for Marriage to Foreign Nationals on Mail Order Basis and Other Similar Practices)

there is an estimated 5,000 Filipinas entering US as mail order brides every year since 1986 (total of 55,000 as of 1997)
there is an estimated 20,000 Filipina mail-order brides in Australia
a number of websites in the Internet advertise Filipina mail-order brides

safety at home, in the streets and in the workplace

the average annual increase on cases of sexual abuse from 1990 to 1995 was 5.4%; from 1995 to 1996, the rate increase reached 9% (from 2,346 in 1995 to 2,553 in 1996)
794 cases of rape were documented during the first quarter of 1997—30% more than number of cases documented during the same perion in 1996
32% of the 4,105 cases of child abuse handled by DSWD in 1996 were rape of children or minors
according to one study, 90% of rape victims in the Philippines come from the poor sector
1/3 of the reported cases of rape (or 101 cases) were in Central Luzon, location of the 2 favorite tourist spots, Angeles and Olongapo City
sexual abuse cases involving public officials and law enforcers:
Congressman Romeo Jalosjos involved in the rape of a 12-year old girl
Binan Mayor Bayani Alonte accused of raping a 16-year old girl
Former Quezon Representative Manolet Lavides involved in the prostitution of 4 high school students of Novaliches High School
Angeles City Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan involved in the case of a 16-year old model being prostituted by talent manager Jojo Veloso
5 policemen in San Fabian, Pangasinan accused of raping an 11-year old girl inside police barracks
4 policemen on-duty implicated in rape of a 17-year old girl inside police station in Luneta
SPO2 Roel Waga, police investigator in Bgy. Puerto, Cagayan City involved in sexual harassment of a 13-year old girl

political participation of women

On the contrary, Filipino women continue to suffer political repression:
from 1992 to 1993, 101 incidents of displacement due to militarization and/or development projects were noted; this involved 43,294 families or 231,057 individuals 70% percent of whom are women and children
from 1994 to 1997 (July), 107 women were arrested for political reasons
as of December, 1996 there still 172 political prisoners 6 are women
240 residents, mostly women, of Loacan, Itogon, Benguet were arrested and detained due to their ongoing protest against the Benguet Corporation’s mining intrusions (1996)
arrest of 115 peasants, majority are women, in Floridablanca, Pampanga because of their agitation for agrarian reform (1996)
the house of Dr. Fe Mamon, executive director of the Health and Services in Panay and board member of the Council for Health and Development (both health NGOs) was raided by military in August 1996; she was interrogated during the raid (1996)
Evelyn Munos and Maritess Salabao , health workers connected with an NGO last year at a checkpoint in Bgy. Bantay in Kalinga Apayao by members of the 45th IB; Salabao was released after a day due to her illness, Munos was released three days later (1996)
a total of 50 persons were arrested in November of 1996 in Metro Manila for protesting the APEC summit; 15 are women-members of GABRIELA and SAMAKANA (Samahan ng Malayang Kababaihang Nagkakaisa)



  1. Medium Term Philippine Development Plan 1993-1998
  2. Philippine Development Plan for Women 1989-1992
  3. Philippine Plan for Gender Responsive Development 1995-2025
  4. Philippine Country Report on Women , the Fourth World Conference on Women 4-15 September, 1995, Beijing, China (National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women)
  5. Pilipinas 2000 sa Taong 1995 , March 1996(Center for Women’s Resources)
  6. Globalisasyon sa Taong 1996 , 1997 (Center for Women’s resources)
  7. "Sa Gitna ng Imperyalistang Globalisasyon: Lumalalang Paglabag sa Karapatang Pantao ng Mamamayan, Dagdag na Pang-aapi sa Mayorya ng Kababaihang Pilipino", Usaping Lila, December 1996 (Center for Women’s Resources)
  8. Macro data About Women in the Labor Sector , 1996 (Center for Women’s Resources)
  9. "The Social Reform Agenda" IBON Facts and Figures, Vol. 19 No. 10, 31 May 1996 (IBON Databank)
  10. IBON Special Release on "The Crisis of Philippine Labor Migration", May 1995 (Antonio Tujan Jr., IBON Databank)
  11. "As time runs out: CARP achieves only 53% of target", IBON Features, Vol.2