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Annie’s Journey

“Annie” is a twenty-year-old Kankana-ey born and raised in Mankayan, Benguet. She comes from a family of seven, wherein she has her parents and her four younger siblings. Her parents are trying their best to make do with the meager wages that they earn from informal jobs. Despite their efforts, the pay they receive is not enough for their growing family. She migrated to Baguio and took a Bachelor’s Degree in Education at a university, hopeful of finding a job after her study. In her second year, Annie decided to forgo her studies and work as a call center agent. Her desire to help her family...

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A call to action to the young indigenous women of the Cordillera

If you are like the vast majority, you probably haven’t heard of the ‘ball-squeezing’ and ‘breast-baring’ women who defended our ancestral lands from threats of unmerciful destruction. For that, you are not to blame because believe it or not, we have a state that is trying to revise our history of resistance. When remnants of our colonial past became a tool for those who have grown to feed off the capitalist world system, our ancestral lands became sources of profit for the few. Giant corporations partnered with the state to legitimize their plans for “development” in our ancestral lands –...

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Mental Health – a Societal Concern Essential to Women’s Well-being

October has been declared as World Mental Health Awareness Month by the World Health Organization (WHO). Awareness is really a key element in addressing this societal concern most especially that Mental Health is rarely discussed and studied and there is still considerable stigma and taboos on matters surrounding mental illnesses. Reports indicate that 17 to 20 percent of Filipino adults experience mental health disorders, while 10 to 15 percent of Filipino children, within the age group of 5 to 15 suffer the same. NSO accounts mental health illnesses as the third most common forms of...

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A community’s grief and anxiety through children’s eyes

The usual road to Loacan from Ucab, Itogon, Benguet is now missing in maps and photos, defaced from the wrath of the September 15 heavy downpour that saturated the soil and followed the law of gravity. The new route is via Sabkil, offering us distant views of Ucab and Loacan whose mountains bear scars from the recent onslaught, and unseen reminders of a century of mining. After a 45-minute ride through Ambuklao Road, past landslides that were being cleared, we held our collective breath and kept our wits in place, fear disguised in nervous laughter as the hired jeepney descended down the...

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Understanding discrimination and violence vs women

Violence Against Women (VAW) in its different forms are gender-based abuses that target women in particular because of how they are viewed in society. It is one of the most palpable manifestations of women’s unequal status in relation to men in our society. Although VAW is usually perpetrated by males, it must be clear that VAW happens not because of the ridiculous belief that men are naturally violent and aggressive. The problem has its origin in our history, when the subjugation of women emerged in our society. It is systemic and deeply entrenched in the socio-cultural and political...

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Reclaim the Genuine Tradition of International Women’s Day

March 8 of every year, International women’s day is celebrated by women all over the world. The United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day during the promulgation of International Women’s Year in 1975. By 1977, the United Nations General Assembly called on its member states to declare March 8 as the UN Day for women’s rights and world peace. For the UN and member states, this day marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. March 8, women’s day, however was originally international working women’s day. Before UN countries began adopting this as women’s day in 1975,...

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Retracing the True Beginnings of IDEVAW

November 25 marks a very important date for women the world over. Waves of critical events transpired on this particular date bringing to the fore violence against women as a legitimate societal concern in turn engendering awareness towards this issue. On December 17, 1999, the United Nations General Assembly designated this date as International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (IDEVAW). Since then, UN member states begun celebrating this date defining strategies “to end violence against women, empower women, and achieve gender equality”. However, it is not really to UN’s...

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