MANILA, Philippines — Women and men alike from different sectors in Metro Manila gathered at the Bonifacio Shrine on February 14 to take part in One Billion Rising, a nationwide campaign that is also participated in by several cities across the globe.

Gabriela Women’s Party led the crowd in demanding truth, justice, accountability, and genuine social change for women in the Philippines and abroad. The said group rallied women in the urgent call to make President Aquino liable for the heightened poverty and violence that women face day by day. Representative Luzviminda Ilagan also noted the government’s obvious yet futile efforts to whitewash Aquino and the US government’s involvement in the Mamasapano operation on January 25, all the more adding fuel to the call for Aquino to step down.

“We rise because we want change and that includes a change in governance. we have seen how incompetent and corrupt this government is. There should be no stopping women from joining protests to call for Aquino’s resignation and to install a caretaker transition council that will institute reforms and ensure a new government that will address the people’s demand to end the poverty, impunity and, violence in this country,” Ilagan said.

Participants of One Billion Rising danced to the song “Bangon na sa Rebolusyon”, an upbeat original by Gabriela that exhorts women to rise up against discrimination and oppression in the form of unemployment, low wages, violence, and rape.

The campaign was launched on Valentine’s Day three years back and has since been the biggest mass action to put a stop to violence against women.

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Photos by Erika Cruz and Dexter Aserdano