On the Philippine island of Palawan, traditionally, fishing has been the means of support for most inhabitants. Over the last twenty years, because of climate change and a variety of other factors, fish are no longer as abundant as they once were. Local women, who were previously largely homemakers, have responded to this difficult situation by taking up seaweed farming. The revenue offered by this endeavor has been a welcome addition to household incomes. But climate change is also already affecting the viability of seaweed farms. The women farmers are rising to the challenge by improving seaweed harvesting and drying methods, using better tools and developing early warning systems for typhoons. Photo credit: Mongabay
Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the United Nations special rapporteur for the rights of indigenous people has fled her home in the Philippines due being falsely accused as a terrorist by Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte. Going home is now unsafe for Ms. Tauli-Corpuz due to her powerful stance on land rights for indigenous communities. Recently, she was included on a list of suspected terrorists by the Filipino Government. While the Filipino Government has insisted this designation is due to ties to banned leftist groups, her criticism of the military forced displacement of indigenous people in Mindanao, Philippines is likely the cause. Along with her vocal criticism of displacement, Ms. Tauli-Corpuz has also focused much of her energy on climate change and the inclusion of indigenous people in climate justice - a stance that has jolted the international forefront. Photo Credit: Annie Ling for The New York Times
Kathleen Lei Limayo, a filmmaker and photographer, shares her views on why it is essential that more women get involved in the climate justice movement. Though new to this movement, Lei Limayo has dived right in and now volunteers with 350.org Pilipinas, using her talents to record stories about the effects of climate change in the Philippines. On International Women’s Day she calls on more women from diverse backgrounds to get involved, not only because climate change disproportionately impacts women, but also because we need technological innovations in the energy sector that are gender inclusive and empower women. Photo credit: AC Dimatatac
Lumago Designs is a social enterprise in Dumaguete City, Philippines that is run by and for women. Established in 2011, the organization allows women living near the city dump in the Candau-ay community to cultivate the skill of upcycling and reusing. Many of the women were once scavengers – sorting through the 80 tons of garbage sent to the dump a day in search of recyclable materials that they could sell. Now, they work to turn trash into beauty. Their jewelry, bags, and household items are sold across the Philippines and in parts of the US and Europe. Women are paid above minimum wage for the pieces they produce while they work from home. For many, being a part of this group and cultivating financial autonomy has been life changing. Photo Credit: Lumago Designs
Meet Bai Bibyaon Bigkay, leader of the SABOKAHAN Lumad Women Regional Confederation, PASAKA Confederation of Lumad Organizations and BAI Indigenous Women Network in the Philippines. Bai Bibyaon is the first and only woman chieftain of the Manobo Tribe, and has been fighting to protect the ancestral lands of the Manobo from militarization and companies looking to take advantage of the natural resources in her homeland. Photo credit: Global Fund for Women
Climate change is igniting a rise in human trafficking, as natural disasters put women and children in post-catastrophe situations that traffickers exploit. Emma Porio, a professor of sociology at Ateneo de Manila University, explains how natural phenomena like Typhoon Haiyan displace women and girls, making them vulnerable to sex traffickers. The Renew Foundation is helping bar girls and sex workers transition out of dependency and into new careers and new lives. Photo credit: Hannah Reyes Morales
Gabrielle, an aspiring biologist and environmental scientist, is educating her community about the Central Cebu Protected Landscape (CCPL). The Central Cebu Protected Landscape, home to various endemic and critically endangered species, is a forest reserve located in the mountains and drainage basins of central Cebu in the Philippines. After working for a local NGO, Gabrielle learned about the forest “dead zones”, areas where invasive species like Mahogany have taken over and inhibited native species from growing. Now her main objective is to educate the public and protect the CCPL’s unique biodiversity and water supply. Photo Credit: Commundos
A short film produced by the Asia Indigenous People’s Pact and shared by Yes To Life, No To Mining investigates the non-recognition of Indigenous people’s rights to ancestral lands due to large-scale mining in the Philippines. It looks at the threats and challenges encountered and actions taken by several Indigenous women human rights defenders, such as Betty Belen, Mother Petra, Bai Lita Kundag, Marevic Aguirre, Christina Lanatao and Bai Madalna Kundag in their struggle for self-determination and collective rights against transnational corporations. Photo credit: Asia Indigenous Peoples' Pact
In this World Pulse story, Bai Ellen Manlimbaas, Lumad Indigenous women leaders of the Matigsalog tribe living in the village of White Culaman, Bukidnon, Mindanao, Philippines, recounts her abduction and month-long detention by the military for to her work with other local leaders and rural women to oppose the continued ingression of destructive development, militarization and corporate farming and mining into Lumad homelands. Photo credit: World Pulse
On July 2016, The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) reviewed the human rights violations by the Philippine State. The CEDAW Committee was notified that the Philippines is institutionalizing gender biases, patriarchal structures and violence against women to further interests, specifically those of mining corporations. Kakay Tolentine from the Durmagat Indigenous community and BAI (National Network of Indigenous Women) representative highlighted the increases in extrajudicial killings, including 90 Indigenous land defenders between 2010 and 2016. The killing of Juvy Capion was raised to the CEDAW Committee. Capion, a B’laan woman leader who fiercely opposed the Sagittarius Mines, Inc. project on her ancestral lands was killed by military men in October 2012 along with her two young sons. Despite the laws passed to protect Indigenous women, the government fails to fulfill its obligations. Photo credit: WLB
Tess Vistro speaks on behalf of the National Federation of Peasant Women about the violence women in the Philippines face as a result of climate change, and the lack of inclusion of women in natural disaster preparation. Photo credit: Tess Vistro/Amihan, National Federation of Peasant Women
From 30th March, 2016, more than 6,000 farmers from various municipalities in the North Cotabato Province of the Philippines held a protest to demand rice subsidies following food shortages caused by droughts. The government responded with violence, killing 2, wounding over 100 and leaving many missing or detained, including 34 women, 4 of which were pregnant. Bai Ali Indayla, Secretary General of KAWAGIB Alliance of the Advancement of Moro Human Rights, a negotiator on behalf of farmers, was wounded in the protest. She and the other protestors took shelter in a nearby church, only to be barricaded in by PNP-Region 12 and other units of State forces. Women Human Rights Defenders: International Coalition (WHRDIC) condemn this brutal attack and call for Karapatan, a human rights organisation, to be able to carry out an investigation without harm, they demand the release of those unlawfully detained and accountability for violations perpetrated against protestors. Photo credit: WHRDIC
This study from the Center for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt examines conditions in Mindanao, Philippines to explore the question of how agricultural sustainability and women’s empowerment are connected. It concludes that while the two are indeed related, sustainable and soverign farming practices can continue to replicate gender-based inequalities, if programs are not designed with a frame of gender-justice and feminism. Photo Credit: Flickr - jojo nicdao
36-year-old housewife and mother Minda Dalinan, from the Blaan Indigenous people, was amongst hundreds protesting the violence and human rights violations committed by paramilitary forces, which are terrorizing and displacing her people. Indigenous tribes in the Philippines are fighting to save their ancestral land from mining companies and government takeovers, and women are leading the fight. Photo credit: Iris Gonzales
The abundant marine resources of the Verde Island Passage, a conservation corridor, are the source of food and livelihood for the fishing communities of Oriental Mindoro. Women from these communities share how climate change reduces their livelihood opportunities. Their stories underline the need for integrated solutions that encompass key elements, including population and environmental health, needed to build climate-resilient communities. Photo credit: PATH Foundation Philippines, Inc.
This compilation, edited by Dr. Judy M. Taguiwalo and entitled “Women’s Movement Building In The Philippines: A Journey of Meeting Challenges, Drawing Lessons, and Strengthening Resolve to Advance Women’s Emancipation and Empowerment” explores the best practices of women’s leadership in various social movements across the Philippines. Profiling such women leaders as Aida Santos of the Women’s Education Development Productivity and Research Organization, and Cham Perez and Carmi Espineda of the Center for Women’s Resources, the publication gives voice to these powerful advocates to tell their stories in areas such as militarism, public health, environmental protection, and sexual and reproductive rights. Photo credit: JASS Just Associates
This documentary, produced by the Asia Pacific Forum on Women Law and Development (APWLD) and the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTHUR) as part of the Climate Justice Feminist Participatory Action Research (FPAR), focuses on poor women impacted by climate change in the urban area of Metro Manila, Philippines. These women tell their struggles due to results of climate change such as the Typhoon Ondoy in 2009 and constant heat waves. Another result is the increased vulnerability of Filipino women working in extremely low-paying jobs with no security regarding their future, while having to take care of their home and children. These women have been acting on the issues at hand by mobilizing their communities through a climate justice movement. Photo credit: APWLD
This incredible poem entitled “Ghost of Sea Salt Corpses” deals with complex material, such as the real climate impacts people on the front lines of this crisis face. Filipino-American poet Isabella Borgeson of Spoken Word for the World performs with gusto. Photo credit: Fast for Climate
Spoken Word for the World winner Isabella Borgeson performs her winning poem “Yolanda Winds” to a crowd in a metro car in Paris. In this poem, she reflects on the impacts of climate change on her islands in the Philippines. Photo credit: Global Call for Climate Action
Eunice is one of the winners of the Spoken Word for the World competition and performed her poetry live at the United Nations climate summit in Paris. In this poem she reflects on the impacts of climate change on her islands in the Philippines. Photo credit: Global Call for Climate Action
Bai Bibyaon, of the SABOKAHAN Lumad Women Regional Confederation, was raised in the Manobo tribe to become its only woman chieftain. Her understanding of peace includes the right to live and cultivate the ancestral Pantaron mountain lands, and that turned her into a fighter against the logging and mining industries. Because of actions taken by the military and paramilitary, her community was forced to leave their lands. Now she fights them from the evacuation camp she lives in, as she can’t return home due to threats to her life. Photo credit: Global Fund For Women
Veronica Malecdan is an activist from the island of Luzon, in the Philippines. For her, advocacy started after her experience as a migrant worker in Hong Kong, where the challenges she faced made her realize the importance of fighting injustice. After returning home, she began to fight for the rights of the Igorot Indigenous peoples of Cordillera region, who are faced with commercial mining, power plants and other hazardous development projects. As Secretary General of Innabuyog, an alliance of Indigenous women’s organizations in the region, Veronica is helping draw the connection between work to address land, food, women’s rights, militarization and violence against women. Photo credit: Urgent Action Fund
Josephine Pagalan is a Lumad Indigenous woman leader fighting against the mining that affects her community in the Surigao del Sur province in the northeastern part of Mindanao, Philippines. Due to her advocacy, Josephine has been harassed and witnessed a friend being shot to death. In spite of all that, she continues to oppose logging and mining operations, including those of the Lianga Bay logging company and the Semirara Coal Mining company, working to amplify her community’s voice in the media. Photo credit: Urgent Action Fund
As part of the International People’s Conference on Mining, held in the Philippines, a workshop was held addressing the gender-specific impacts of mining and the role of women and human rights defenders. This article outlines the action points and resolutions agreed upon to support women in mobilizing their communities and forming resistance movements.
Wilma Tero Mangila is a Subanen environmental activist from Midsalip, in the Zamboanga del Sur province of Philippines, who has devoted her life to fighting illegal logging and mining on Subanen ancestral lands and defending Indigenous peoples’ rights to Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) in order to protect their ancestral lands. She is also leading the way for women’s rights to participate in decision making processes within her community. Photo credit: Urgent Action Fund
In this radio interview hosted by Cultural Survival, Vicky Tauli-Corpuz of the Igorot Kankanaey Indigenous community discusses her work as UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and formerly the Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. She shares her experience resisting projects of then-president Ferdinand Marcos, including stopping the construction of the Chico River Hydroelectric Dam. She encourages Indigenous activists to reach out to international community and demand Indigenous rights so they can maintain their communities and cultures.
Alyansa Tigil Mina, a consortium of organizations dedicated to challenging mining in the Philippines, compiled an array of stories from Filipino women struggling with mining in their communities. Women leaders including Imelda Mape and Carmen Ananayo have put their lives in danger in the struggle for human rights, environmental protection, and conservation. Imelda Mape, an elected official from Cagayan Valley, took a stance against the authorization of a new magnetite mining project. While her intransigent opposition to the project has made her the object of resentment for barangay officials, it has also helped her gain her community’s trust and support. Similarly, Carmen Ananayo of the Didipio Earth Saver’s Multi-Purpose Association refused to sell her land to Oceana Gold Philippines. The narratives in this collection provide many lessons on overcoming fear and what it takes to do the right thing for the community. Photo credit: Alyansa Tigil Mina
In three villages in the Rizal province of the Philippines, the direct link between climate change and economic stress is having gendered impacts. Dumagat Indigenous women are using traditional methods that ensure soil health and protect biodiversity, while relying on traditional knowledge to predict storms and care for their community. Women’s empowerment and leadership in community development is essential to overcoming climate and economical stress. Photo Credit: Use Default
This report by the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development explores how Indigenous women farmers in the mountainous Cordillera region of the Philippines are feeling the impacts of climate change and extractive industries. Their livelihoods are threatened by typhoons, soil erosion and sea level rise, in addition to nearby extractive industries: 60% of the Cordillera region is occupied by gold-bearing ore and copper mining operations. However, women have mobilized to prevent the use of destructive fishing practices and promote reforestation, multi-cropping, crop diversification, and the community pooling of labor.