PHILIPPINES: Women's Museum Pressed

Thursday, December 30, 2010
Journal Online
South Eastern Asia
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Peace Processes

GABRIELA Rep. Luz Ilagan and Emmi de Jesus filed House Bill 1477 seeking the establishment of a national women's museum or institution dedicated to the heritage, heroism and martyrdom of Filipino women.

The solons said the knowledge of Filipino women's heritage and heroism is crucial in developing people's appreciation and respect for women and girls and eliminating discrimination, oppression and violence against females of all ages.

“Women's historic contributions to Philippine civilization, nation and people, should not go unvalued and unnoted leaving a gap in our country's historical record,” Ilagan said.

She added that Filipino women have played leading and supportive roles in the Filipinos' historic struggles for liberation, justice, peace and prosperity.

De Jesus cited Gabriela Silang, Tandang Sora, Teresa Magbanua and Tri-nidad Tecson, among the few Filipino women who fought against colonialism and foreign invasion.

She said there are women's groups who started organizing at the turn of the century like Logia de Adopcion, a masonic lodge of Filipino women in 1893, Association de Damas dela Cruz Roja (Women's Red Cross Association) and the Association of Ilonga Feminists led by Pura Villanueva Kalaw, which started the nationwide campaign for women's suffrage in 1912.

“The suffragettes' campaign took the form of lobbying government officials, holding rallies and conferences. Their efforts resulted in the passage of the suffrage bill in the Philippine Legislature in1933, implementation of the Administration Code which allowed women to vote in 1935, and the ratification of women's suffrage rights in a national plebiscite in 1937,” De Jesus said.

She added that activists like Liliosa Hilao, Jessica Sales, Lorena Barros and Puri San Pedro sacrificed their lives for nationalism and democracy.

Under the bill, the National Filipino Women's Museum shall be created in recognition of women's historic contributions to the Filipinos' development as a nation and people. It will also honor individual women whose specific achievements have enriched and impacted any and all aspects of Filipino life and commemorate modern-day women heroines and martyrs who struggled against injustice, oppression and exploitation.

The National Filipino Women's Museum shall operate under the management of the National Commission of Culture and the Arts.