For The VIOLENCE Issue, we want to highlight four women who are advocating for the safety of women and children against violence. Jean Enriquez of CATW-AP, Senator Risa Hontiveros, Jona Turalde of SheDecidesPH, and Jenina Co of Amarela PH are our features on Instagram, @thefilipinafeminists, for the whole month of September.
Jean Enriquez is the Executive Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women - Asia Pacific (CATW-AP) which is part of “an international network of feminist groups, organizations and individuals fighting the sexual exploitation of women globally.” CATW was founded in October 1988 during the first Global Conference Against Trafficking in Women that was held in New York, USA, while CATW-AP was founded in April 1933 during the Conference on Women Empowering Women that was held in Manila, Philippines.
The main objectives of the coalition include:
Promoting awareness on women’s human rights and initiate action against global sexual exploitation and violence against women, particularly prostitution and trafficking;
Lobbying against sexual exploitation in all its forms in appropriate UN bodies and other international fora, as well as in regional levels;
Promoting research on the causes, patterns and impact of prostitution and trafficking women;
Helping promote international solidarity and cooperation to combat sexual exploitation
Supporting survivors of trafficking, prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation.
When asked about how we can offer support to victim-survivors of abuse, Miss Enriquez said, “Insert quote here.”
Senator Risa Hontiveros is among the few true advocates of women’s rights in the senate. She is the Chairperson of the Committee on Women, Children, and Family Relations for the 17th and 18th Congress. She has also authored bills and passed laws that aim to “[fight] social injustice, inequality, and the struggle for stronger gender rights for all.”
These include the Divorce Bill, SOGIE Equality Bill, the Girls Not Brides Bill, the Expanded Maternity Leave Law, the Philippine HIV & AIDS Policy Law, and the Safe Streets and Public Spaces Law, among others. She also proposed a bill that seeks to raise the age of consent in the Philippines, which is currently (and alarmingly) at 12 years old.
Aside from these, Senator Risa Hontiveros also passed the first true national policy on mental health (Mental Health Law) and reinforced the legislation against sexual harassment, protecting women from street harassment and violence including wolf-whistling, catcalling, flashing, and groping (Safe Spaces Act).
Moreover, she also worked with civil society groups and women’s rights advocates to pass the Reproductive Health Law in the country before her term as a senator. The RH Law gives “women and families access to reproductive health and modern family planning services” which is crucial in population control and preventing the cycle of poverty.
We need to elect more women like Senator Risa Hontiveros who continuously advocates for women and children in the government. We hope that, in choosing whom to vote for in #Halalan2022, we look at the platforms and advocacies of each candidate so that we don’t repeat history and give toxic and fragile men the power to control the future of our beloved country.
Jona Claire Turalde graduated this year with a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology in UP Diliman. More than being an Iskolar ng Bayan, she devoted her time and skills as she volunteered for various organizations like the International Youth Council Pilipinas, UP Red Cross Youth, and UP Anthropology Society, while also managing their family business on the side.
Jona is highly driven to be part of changes for the women of tomorrow. She believes that all women deserve access to reproductive health services and sexuality education. She hopes to help build a world where women have autonomy over their bodies. As Youth Champion and Board Member of SheDecides, Jona recognizes that our country has a long way to go in fighting against gender-based violence and body autonomy. With this, she continuously takes part in initiatives aimed to prioritize sexuality education and reproductive health services as part of the solution. In the Philippines where even talking about these things is taboo, the work is definitely challenging.
Currently, Jona is a Global Advisor for FRIDA, a Board Member of Youth Comabting NTDs (Neglected Tropical Diseases), and part of the IPPF (International Planned Parenthood Federation) Nominations and Governance Committee.
Jenina Co, or simply Nina, currently serves as Chairperson for Amarela PH. If you may not know, Amarela PH is a youth-led initiative that advocates for sexual and reproductive healthcare in the Philippines. The said organization hosted Amarela Talks: Reproductive Healthcare & COVID in the Philippines where they invited Sen. Risa Hontiveros, Samira Gutoc, and Iori Kato. Their first webinar garnered over 21,000 views. Recently, we partnered with them on Project Sulong, an initiative to provide free support and legal services for victim-survivors of sexual abuse.
Aside from this, Nina is also the Publication Officer for The Initiative PH (TIPH), a volunteer organization run by students that focuses on coordinating relief efforts across the country. TIPH projects include Tough for Taft (a bake sale fundraiser), Project Pagsibol (relief goods distribution), and Project Lumad (donation drive for Lumad students and their teachers).
Nina definitely proves that no one is too young to take charge in advocacies close to their heart.