Producing Shadow Reports

Beijing+5 and Women's Human Rights

Links of Interest

Contacting IWRAW



    Country Reports


President Fidel V. Ramos, democratically elected in 1992, continues his controversial effort to revitalise the Philippines, a country devastated by its history of colonialism, corruption and the entrenched interests of a small elite class. The country still struggles to reduce the $28 billion debt left by the dictator Ferdinand Marcos when he fled in 1986. Almost forty percent of the national budget goes to debt payment, mostly for debt servicing.1 Ramos' popularity has been boosted by four consecutive years of economic growth, although he is criticised as being more interested in roads and dams than social and health issues.2

To achieve his goals, Ramos is implementing an IMF - World Bank prescribed reform programme, called "Philippines 2000," which aims to convert the country's agrarian-based economy into an industrial, market-driven one. The government is attempting to attract foreign investment through legal and fiscal reforms, keeping wages and union activity low, and expanding export processing zones, with garments and electronics constituting fifty percent of Philippine exports.3 Ramos has broken up internal monopolies and privatised key industries to produce what economic analysts are calling one of the most open economies in Asia.4 Yet the success of the Philippine economy still largely depends on the 4.2 million overseas workers who send home earnings from mostly domestic and construction-related jobs. More Filipinos are employed overseas than in the entire domestic manufacturing sector.5

Despite the promise of "Philippines 2000" and four years of macro-economics growth, a greater percentage of Filipinos live in poverty than in the other countries of Southeast Asia. President Ramos' liberalising and deregulating measures have been attacked by many groups as "anti-poor." The struggle between social welfare and wealth-creation pervades every political and economic debate in the Philippines.6

Armed Conflict

The Philippines has suffered from a continuous armed struggle between the government and its main revolutionary guerrilla groups. The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), a Muslim separatist movement based in the southern island of Mindanao, has been fighting for independence since 1971. Up to 200,000 people have died, many of them civilians, and hundreds of thousands more have been displaced.7 Renewed hope has arisen since President Ramos signed a peace agreement with the MNLF in September 1996.8 However, two breakaway Muslim organisations are still operating in the Mindanao region.

A more widespread impediment to peace in the Philippines lies in the protracted conflict between successive Philippine Governments and the communist National Democratic Front (NDF). The two sides resumed peace talks in June 1996 and exchanged political prisoners. Although President Ramos expressed "guarded optimism" about this round of talks with the communists, NDF leader Luis Jalandoni accused the Ramos government of threatening massive violations of human rights by legislating the appropriation of 200,000 hectares of land for concessions to foreign mining corporations, thereby "causing or threatening the massive uprooting of the native population and poor rural settlers." 9

Communist insurgents have been fighting Philippine governments since the time of the Marcos regime, and paramilitary troops, or vigilantes, have been used up to the present as surrogate forces to isolate the guerrillas from their base of support among peasants in the rural areas. The militarisation of the countryside, where the majority of Philippine women live, has had a devastating impact on many rural communities. Social action and mobilisation have been undermined, and big landlords have been able to use paramilitary units to protect their control of land, seriously hampering agrarian reform.10 Although the number of military encounters between government and insurgent forces is said to have declined, the disruption of peasant life and production continues in some areas, fuelling urban migration.

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN - Articles 3, 5, 6, 12, 15 and 16

According to Philippine Social Welfare and Development Secretary Lina Laigo, there has been a significant increase in the number of reported rape and incest cases, as well as beatings of women and children, throughout the country. A study conducted by the Department of Social Welfare indicated that rape victims have become younger, with a case even involving a three-month old infant.11 However, there has been an increasing willingness on the part of ordinary citizens to report criminal activity,12 and this may be reflected in the statistics.

Domestic Violence

Reported cases of battered women are part of the nation-wide increase. Social Welfare Secretary Laigo said the deployment of trained women police officers at women's desks in police stations has encouraged victims to come forward and report their ordeals. There is a long way to go, however, before these women's desks become as effective as they could be. Sources say that the policewomen need to be much better informed about the law and better trained to deal sensitively with victims. Also, the women's desks are not taken very seriously yet by the police leadership.

In general, local officials and police do not take seriously complaints by women about domestic violence. Many women do not report the violence against them because incompetent or corrupt police officers are unlikely to do much about it. Human rights groups in the Philippines attribute the majority of abuses in the country to the police and military forces, and officials admit that many kidnappings and other crimes are linked to policemen and former soldiers.

There is no domestic violence-specific legislation in the Philippines, although activists are currently working on a proposed bill. The criminal remedy consists of filing a criminal complaint for physical injuries (slight, less serious and serious) or parricide/homicide/murder (attempted, frustrated, consummated). Claims of less serious physical injuries have to go through the Philippine barangay conciliation/mediation system before a complaint can be filed with the prosecutor's office and eventually in the court. In the Philippines, the barangay is the smallest political unit, representing a village or community, and is headed by a barangay 'captain.' (The system is very ancient, and the term 'captain' relates to a much earlier time, when each community would have had a boat.) The police will rarely entertain a complaint for physical injuries, even only for purposes of documentation, without the woman going through the barangay process, which involves a personal confrontation between the parties, with the barangay captain or a barangay official acting as mediator. Since the primary purpose of this process is conciliation, it can have an adverse impact on women survivors of domestic violence, particularly if the barangay official knows nothing about the dynamics of domestic violence.13

The civil remedies in domestic violence cases consist of filing a complaint for civil damages or filing a complaint/petition for legal separation, if the couple are married. Philippine law provides that for repeated physical violence or grossly abusive conduct, or any attempt against one's life, one can file a complaint for legal separation. The decree of legal separation does not dissolve the marriage - there is no legal divorce in the Philippines - but simply sanctions separation. The advantage of obtaining a decree of legal separation pertains to property, if there is any, for the guilty spouse may be deprived of his share of the assets.14

The Philippine Family Code does offer a ground for legal separation and suspension of parental authority,15 but it falls short in its attempt to protect victims of domestic violence by requiring that a woman suffer habitual physical violence or attempted murder before obtaining a separation decree.16 In addition, the Revised Penal Code does not penalise acts which constitute domestic violence nor provide protection orders for the victim.17

Domestic violence is an especially serious problem in the overcrowded urban slums that continue to grow in the Philippines. According to one source, the traditions and customs that controlled behaviour in the rural areas no longer have a strong influence. People who migrate to the mines have similar problems, exacerbated by a high rate of alcoholism.18 A random survey conducted in three poor communities in Metro Manila in 1990 indicated that 11 out of 12 women had experienced battering at least once in their married life.19

Sexual Violence

Rape continues to be a major problem in the Philippines. Police said that reported rape cases in 1995 showed an alarming increase over 1994.20 The police officer who opened the first woman's desk in 1993 was quoted by the Straits Times as saying that sexual violence in the Philippines is encouraged by a machista attitude toward women, who are associated with weakness and servility. "This cultural attitude has created a nation of sexists, potential batterers and sexual harassers."21 Social Welfare Secretary Laigo refers to rape as a "silent crime," influenced by a number of factors, including alcoholism, the proliferation of pornographic materials, and "the simple lack of values."22 One woman lawyer emphasised that economic conditions are inextricable from the problem of incest and sexual violence. Extreme poverty results in girls having to share beds with their fathers and brothers, in mothers working overseas, leaving their daughters vulnerable to abuse, or mothers working in the cane fields and as domestics in other people's homes, leaving young girls alone for long periods of time.

Most incest cases are dismissed in court because victims desist from pressing charges, usually when the cases drag on. Secretary Liago expressed concern that the courts do not resolve child abuse cases in a reasonable amount of time. Women's groups protest that, in general, accused rapists are dealt with too leniently by the security and judicial systems. For example, a Manila judge spared a convicted rapist from the highest possible penalty because he was drunk and high on drugs when he raped his two victims. Critics argue that that should be an aggravating factor, not a mitigating one.23

A bill drafted by SIBOL, a feminist legislative advocacy group, which would reclassify rape from a crime against chastity to a crime against a person, a public offence, was taken up by Congress in 1993, where it became very controversial because it broadened the definition of rape beyond forced penile penetration. The bill was refiled, along with other versions, upon the opening of the Congress in June 1995. To date, the Senate has passed a version containing the most significant provisions in the SIBOL bill, but the Lower House is considering a version that departs significantly from the SIBOL proposal. It is expected that a major battle will be waged in the bicameral committee over these differences.


The increasing problem of prostitution in the Philippines, as elsewhere in the world, stems mainly from dire poverty and from lack of employment opportunity for women. However, an unfortunate colonial history, followed by a state development policy that has promoted tourism and labour migration, have all helped to make prostitution particularly entrenched in the Philippines so that it exercises a pervasive, corrupting influence on the social fabric of the poorer classes. Poverty alone cannot account for what has become systemic exploitation. In this regard, it is worth remembering that a generation ago, during the Vietnam War, there were as many as 10,000 American soldiers a day looking for entertainment in the Philippines.24

Some distinctions should be clarified here: the majority of the clients of prostitutes within the country are Filipino men, but there is also extensive prostitution involving tourists and businessmen, and the US military. Prostitution takes place everywhere, particularly in large cities such as Manila, Cebu and Davao. US Navy ships still visit Olongapo City (formerly Subic Bay), and Angeles City (formerly Clark Air Force Base) is still a centre for prostitution, although the clients are mainly civilian tourists. In all of these places, there are bars, clubs, massage parlours and casas (brothels), and also many prostitutes working independently on the streets and piers. There is also trafficking of women outside the country for the purpose of prostitution. These women generally go as entertainers. However, many women who end up working as prostitutes outside of the Philippines go out of the country as overseas contract workers (see below) or as tourists who take up work illegally. These women are the most vulnerable and most easily forced into prostitution. In these cases, international crime syndicates are usually involved, such as the yakuza in Japan.25

Sex tourism in the Philippines

The consequences of the growth in sex tourism are particularly serious. End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism (ECPAT) says the fear of AIDS set a new trend in the sex trade - preying on younger children who are believed to be virgin and therefore "clean." Second among Southeast Asian countries in the number of child 'sex workers' - UNICEF places the number at over 60,000 - the Philippines has become a glamorous vacation spot for pedophiles from Europe, the United States, Australia, Japan and elsewhere. A smut magazine published in Japan, for instance, features nude photos of Filipino children and tags Manila and the central Philippine city of Cebu as "treasure lands" of child prostitutes.26 The magazine, entitled Southeast Asia for Men Travelling Alone, pointed out where to obtain the best sex in the region at the cheapest prices.

Prostitution, as an integral component of the tourist industry, is an important source of foreign exchange for the Philippine Government. Despite what has been described as a "high-profile crackdown" on prostitution and child abuse, activists are concerned that the government's campaign is more a public relations effort than a serious attempt to change the situation.27 Local police have raided and shut down bars in major "prostitution centres." The mayor of Manila shut down the city's notorious red-light district in 1992, the same year that President Fidel Ramos issued a law making it easier to prosecute men who have sex with children. A number of foreign tourists currently face charges of prostituting and corrupting minors.

In addition to the problem of a slow justice system, activists say that the authorities are corrupt and local law enforcement perpetuate the problem with their tendency to round up suspected prostitutes and bar girls instead of bar owners.28 Sometimes parents collude with pedophiles, and also with traffickers, who offer expensive gifts and financial support to the families. NGOs also complain that the local political and legal establishments will protect pedophiles sooner than interfere with the system or the benefits that come from sex tourism. Despite its link with the sex industry, tourism continues to be a highlight of the national development plan.

EMPLOYMENT - Article 11

According to the Institute of Labour Studies, women workers in the Philippines earn only thirty percent of what male workers earn for similar work. According to a 1994 UNESCO publication, the gap becomes even wider at the executive and managerial level. Furthermore, as the size of the establishment increases, the wage gap between the sexes also rises, indicating a stronger wage discrimination in more established firms. 29

Women not only receive unequal pay, they are also largely excluded from executive and managerial positions. For example, despite the fact that the country's educational system is heavily female, men have always outnumbered women in top-level executive positions.30 Women also comprise the bulk of civil employees, but few hold senior government posts. There is a law prohibiting discrimination in the workplace solely on the basis of sex. However, the positive impact of this law has not been seen.

Gender discrimination is also evident in recruiting tactics. Despite the greater number and better grades of female university students, women continue to earn less than their male peers, who, more often than not, land higher level positions. This is partly because women tend to choose fields of study in low-paying sectors, but discrimination also plays a role. According to Beatrice Cabrerea, head of the Far Eastern University Guidance Counselling Centre, "The [top] companies that come in to recruit sometimes do have preferences for males over females... Women, for example, are wanted for clerks and executive secretaries, since they are [deemed] more patient than men." 31

Female graduates who venture into male dominated areas face gender-based obstacles when they begin the job. A 1993 University of the Philippines female medical school graduate who is now training in neurology at the Philippine General Hospital notes that women are allotted fewer residency slots in some fields of specialisation.32 Of the five residents accepted annually for ear, nose, and throat surgery training, for example, there is only one opening for women.

Free Trade Zones (FTZs)

Women make up the bulk of workers in the Free Trade Zones, which have been promoted as an important part of the government's economic development plan. Currently, there are four major Zones, with the majority of women workers in the garment, footwear and textile manufacturing industries.33 President Ramos' "Philippines 2000" programme has generated up to six percent GNP growth in the past two years, but critics point out, as elsewhere, that the export-led growth model is making the country increasingly dependent on sectors using cheap labour, particularly in the FTZs.34 The FTZs in the Philippines exhibit the same poor working conditions, low wages and underdeveloped workforce that exist in most FTZs throughout the world.

According to the General Secretary for the Asian and Pacific Region of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), Takashi Izumi, who headed a delegation to the Philippines in 1995, "mass dismissals, forced overtime and miserable pay and working conditions are the rule rather than the exception in the free trade zones...." He also said that "proof gathered during our mission shows that a lot of enterprises in the free trade zones avoid paying social security, many do not respect the minimum wage and most ignore basic health, safety and environmental standards."35 ICFTU learned that women workers in an indeterminate number of factories in the Zones are obliged to sign documents allowing their employers to sack them if they marry, and that national labour legislation regarding maternity benefits of various kinds is often ignored. It is also reported that in some factories women have to undergo pregnancy tests before they can begin work.

Although trade unions are provided for in the Constitution, some local authorities are accused of banning unions, outright or indirectly, often with the national government's acquiescence.36 Some employers intimidate workers trying to form a union with threats of firing or factory closure.37 Despite the ostensible uniformity of labour law throughout the country, President Ramos declared the country's nineteen industrial centres as strike-free zones, or "industrial peace zones."38 Local officials maintain these "union free/ strike free" policies, which have impeded organising efforts in most of the FTZs. In the last two years, no less than seven trade union activists have been reported missing. Three others who were missing were later found dead. 39

Within the sub-standard FTZ conditions, women receive lower pay than male workers. The vast majority are hired on a contractual or temporary basis so that they cannot use maternity benefits. They occupy the most subordinate positions, with limited opportunities for advancement, and they are vulnerable to sexual harassment.


The situation of home-based women workers is even worse. They form the periphery in the new international division of labour. Home-based women workers are sub-contracted to produce garments, embroidered materials, handicrafts and footwear for export. Sub-contracted workers do not receive benefits of any kind and do not have security of tenure. Because they are scattered and isolated from each other, they are more at the mercy of the "mamamakyaw" (contractor) than other workers.40

Overseas Contract Workers (OCWs)

To cope with the lack of local job opportunities, increasing numbers of women have turned to overseas contract work, strongly encouraged by the Philippine Government. The employment situation is such that many of the women leaving home to become maids overseas are college graduates.41 Currently more than four million Filipinos are working overseas in more than 120 countries.42 Sixty percent of OCWs in 1994 were women. Nearly seventy-five percent of female OCWs are employed as service workers, mostly as domestics, while male OCWs work mainly as production and construction-related workers.43 Many women go overseas to work in "entertainment," a well-known euphemism for prostitution.

Abuse of women OCWs in host countries is common and has finally become the subject of international concern. This includes the related category of mail-order brides. The Nation reported in April, 1995 that sixteen Filipina mail-order brides in Australia had been killed by their husbands since 1980, in some cases for insurance money, making Filipinas the group of women hardest hit by domestic violence in Australia.44 One source indicates, however, that there is now a law against engaging in the mail-order bride business.45

The Flor Contemplacion case broke the silence in the Philippines regarding the mistreatment of women OCWs. Ms. Contemplacion, a young Filipina maid, was hanged in March 1995 in Singapore for the murder of another maid and Ms. Contemplacion's four-year old charge. Filipinos poured onto the streets in protest.

The Philippine government has called these women "heroines of the Philippine economy." In eulogising Ms. Contemplacion, President Ramos saluted "the migrant worker, who is the Philippines' contribution to other countries' development....and a vital export commodity in the Philippines' own economic strategy."

As a result of lobbying by non-governmental organisations and in response to the public outrage following high-profile cases, government policy has, at least officially, focused on protective measures for overseas workers. The Republic Act 8042, or the "Magna Carta for Overseas Workers," was enacted into law in June 1995.46 The law revises the premises of the overseas employment programme, stating in part that the Philippine Government "does not promote overseas employment as a means to sustain economic growth and achieve national development," that the programme "rests solely on the assurance that the dignity and fundamental human rights of the Filipino shall not at any time be compromised or violated." Increasing evidence of exploitation and abuse of female workers in host countries has led to a number of government and NGO services, but it is unclear how effective these have been. The government has also set up new registration procedures and imposed restrictive measures on labour migration, but the question remains as to how effective these can be, given the value of overseas workers to the national economy. Also, there is the question of the extent to which a government can restrict an individual's choice of occupation or her mobility.

The official Philippine Overseas Employment Agency in September 1996 suspended the deployment of Filipino workers to seven Middle Eastern countries to prevent workers from being caught in the conflict between the United States and Iraq.47 This move was a marked departure from previous years when the government turned its cheek while Filipinas were caught in the midst of violence. However, the Agency contracts women out as domestic workers without challenging the policies in host countries that heighten the women's vulnerability to sexual and labour exploitation. For example, Saudi Arabia requires foreign workers to surrender passports upon arrival. So far, only one abusive employer has been prosecuted in the Persian Gulf countries, and nothing prevents an abusive employer or husband from ordering another domestic or another wife.48

There is no real indication that the Philippines will turn away from its labour-export policies. The state needs hard currency, among other things to continue paying interest on its foreign debt, and the continuation of agricultural-export policies (GATT requires reduced production of rice and corn) will continue to displace farmers, who will end up joining the immigration cycle.49 OCWs are required by law to remit between thirty and seventy percent of their earnings - depending on job and location - through state commercial banks.50 A 1996 International Labour Organisation study on emigration pressures in the Philippines reported that these annual remittances from OCWs total nearly $US 3 billion each year, which is more than twenty percent of export earnings and four percent of the gross domestic product.51

The Philippines is the world's largest exporter of labour, with an estimated 4.5 million of its people working abroad.52 What began as a temporary measure in 1974 to alleviate unemployment and generate more foreign currency has become a key feature of the economy.

Overseas entertainers

Both male and female OCWs can be exploited, but for women exploitation comes with a heavy overlay of violence, from murder to battery to sex trafficking. The government does not acknowledge the ease with which contract workers slide into the sex industry. By unofficial estimates it is the second most likely employer of overseas Filipinas, based upon the number of Filipinas contracted to work in what is euphemistically called the "entertainment industry."

A career manual for women endorsed by the Philippine labour department says: to be an overseas performing artist, you don't need to spend for a college education. All you need to work and perform in night-clubs and bars overseas is "the right looks, minimum height, natural talent and a sense of rhythm." Activists say that the guide paints far too glamorous a picture of the work overseas entertainers do. In fact, more often than not women who take such jobs are ultimately pushed into prostitution. 53

The Government has set a minimum age of 23 for entertainers and requires them to have an official "artist's record book" in a bid to professionalise the industry. In 1994, it required women going to work as entertainers to take singing or dancing lessons before leaving the country. Yet, a representative of the Manila-based Coalition Against Trafficking in Women points out that by stressing the artistic angle and the training of entertainers, "the government is trying to pretend to everyone, including themselves, that this is not sexual entertainment." 54


As in other developing countries, population policies and family planning in the Philippines have focused on fertility reduction to reduce population growth.55 The policy encourages married women to use family planning programmes, which are mainly focused on targeted rates of reduction in births. Some of the consequences of this approach are: sometimes government clinics provide contraceptives to women without informing them about the side effects. Sometimes women are forced to use certain contraceptives so that the programme will meet 'acceptor targets.' Studies show that some women, as a direct result of inappropriate contraceptive methods, suffer from complications such as pelvic infections and infertility.

The government family planning programme lacks follow-up services for women who have problems. In particular, services are not provided to deal with side effects and to change methods when necessary. Thus, many women depend on natural family planning or do not use any methods at all, out of the fear over side-effects and misuse of the artificial methods.

Women's organisations are concerned about the lack of women's control over many of the contraceptive methods provided by the government clinics. For example, the IUD is provider-dependent and doctors have to insert and remove the device. Research indicates that government health workers often refuse women who wish to change their current method or stop altogether.

Government policies ignore the needs of adolescent and unmarried women for family planning services, mainly because of the strong pressure exerted by the Catholic Church. However, pre-marital sex among adolescents has become more common, and they have no protection against unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.


Abortion is illegal in the Philippines. However, in 1987, an estimated 155,000 to 750,000 induced abortions were performed. Most of these are said to involve married women in their late 20s or 30s, who already have three or four children.56

RURAL WOMEN - Article 14

Most of the Philippines population of seventy million live in conditions of agrarian poverty. Rural women, including both peasants and fisherfolk, comprise eighty percent of the total female population. Most peasants work on rice, sugar, corn, coconut, fruit or vegetable farms. One of the main causes of rural poverty in the Philippines, according to a 1996 World Bank Project Appraisal Report, is the way in which land is used and controlled.57 Only sixty percent of agricultural land is owned by the people who farm it. Critics warn that the government's push for expanded tourism and industrialisation continues to take land out of the hands of many peasant farmers and is leading to greater social unrest.

Effect of Economic Adjustment Plan on Rural Women

Under the current export-oriented agricultural programme, the production of cash crops takes primacy over staple food for local consumption. Thus, since the early 1980s there have been many cases of eviction, including forced evictions, of peasants whose lands were converted into corporate farms.58 Arable land is also being converted into tourist areas or industrial, commercial or housing zones.

With the advent of agribusiness and corporate farming, peasant women have become more marginalised. It is mainly men's productive work that is recognised in cash crop production, so men are the main beneficiaries of training, credit, technology and inputs.

Women's work in carrying the burden of structural adjustment is manifested in longer hours on less fertile, marginalised lands to produce food for consumption. Less food means a further decline in the nutritional status of women and their families.

To attract foreign investors and promote growth, the government does not enforce labour laws, including minimum wage laws. Women agricultural workers receive even less than men do. The majority of women are hired in plantations during peak periods, during the planting and harvesting seasons, either in the field or in the processing areas. Because women are considered a "back-up" labour force, they are hired seasonally. As a result, more women migrate to the cities looking for work.59

There are abuses linked with rural development in the logging industry. According to Human Rights Watch/Asia, indigenous forest dwellers have been the victims of threats, forced evacuation and summary executions by corrupt government officials and soldiers who support logging companies.60 Human Rights Watch infers that one reason the government has failed to stop the abuses is that many local officials and law enforcers are heavily involved in logging, either directly or by providing protection to loggers. The report surmised that loggers employ "small private armies" and finance government military units to deal with resistance from these communities.


There has been significant improvement in equalising the corresponding rights and obligations of men and women in the family. The Family Code, which took effect in 1987 and is the governing law on family relations, eliminated many of the discriminatory provisions in the previous Civil Code. However, some issues remain:

  • The absence of a divorce law, as previously discussed.
  • One of the grounds for legal separation is repeated physical violence. Women are protesting the use of the word 'repeated.'
  • Discrimination in decision-making with respect to children and property, in case of conflict, the husband's decision shall prevail. The wife can question this decision in court within a five year period, but this is usually not feasible for most women.
  • A weak and ineffective mechanism to enforce the right to support. Courts do not usually give priority to support cases.

Under the Philippine Penal Code, the charge of marital infidelity for the husband is concubinage, and for the wife, adultery. For a woman to be charged with adultery, it requires only one act of sexual intercourse with a man not her husband. Concubinage, on the other hand, requires cohabitation of the husband with another woman in the conjugal dwelling or elsewhere and sexual intercourse under scandalous circumstances. (Note: in Turkish law marital infidelity, until recently, was differentiated for the man and the woman in virtually the same way. See Turkey report.)

After marriage a woman legally can retain her maiden surname, as the pertinent legal provision in the Civil Code on the married woman's use of the husband's surname is not mandatory. In reality, however, the implied right of a married woman to her maiden name is seldom exercised.


1 "Beasts of Adjustment Burden," Connexions, Spring 1994. back

2 Jon Liden, "He Takes Campaign to the Philippine People, But What's the Goal?" The Asian Wall Street Journal, 26 June 1996. back

3 Sylvia Chant and Cathy McIlwaine, Women of a Lesser Cost: Female Labour, Foreign Exchange and Philippine Development (London: Pluto Press, 1995) 59. back

4 "The Philippines: Back on the Road," The Economist, 11 May 1996. back

5 Philip Bowring, "A Decade Down a Bumpy Road, the Philippines Takes Stock," International Herald Tribune, 20 February, 1996. back

6 "Steady Eddie," The Economist, 11 May 1996. back

7 "Peace Accord Raises Hopes of Healing the Philippines," The Des Moines Register, 1 September, 1996. back

8 Misuari, the Chairman of the MNLF, was subsequently elected governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao on September 9, 1996. The election distinguished itself from past elections in this region by being unmarred by violence. "The Ballot Prevails," The Manila Times 10 September, 1996. back

9 "Peace talks open between Philippines and communist rebels," Agence France-Presse, 20 June, 1996. back

10 Ligaya Lindio-McGovern, "The Philippines: counter-insurgency and peasant women," Race and Class, (34, 4) 1993. back

11 "Cases of Rape, Wife Beating Up - Laigo," The Philippine Star, 15 April, 1996. back

12 United States Department of State Human Rights Practices, 1995. back

13 Evalyn G. Ursua, Women's Legal Bureau, Manila , email to IWRAW, 11 August, 1996. back

14 Women's Legal Bureau. back

15 Although there is no absolute divorce law in the Philippines (legal separation is referred to as "relative divorce"), a source says that there is a 'creative' provision in the 1988 Family Code, which provides that a marriage may be declared null and void if one or both of the partners are psychologically incapacitated to perform the essential marital obligations." One source says that psychological incapacity can be anything, and that only the creativity of the lawyer and the liberality of the judge set the limits. However, very few women are aware of this particular legal option. back

16 Evalyn G. Ursua, "The Family Code and its Implications on Women and Children," HERsay Magazine ,June 1994: 33-34. back

17 "Domestic Violence Bill," Trends, News & Tidbits [Quezon City, Philippines] First Quarter 1996. back

18 Vicky Tauli Corpus, "The Women Rally; the Men Begin to Change: The Philippines," Connexions Winter 1995. back

19 National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women and the Asian Development Bank, Filipino Women: Facts and Figures , 1995. back

20 US Department of State. back

21 Nirmal Ghosh, "Two in War on Violence Against Women in the Philippines," The Straits Times, 4 January, 1996. back

22 "Cases of Rape, Wife-beating Up - Laigo" back

23 US Department of State back

24 Ninotchka Rosca, "The Philippines' Shameful Export," The Nation, 17 April, 1995. back

25 Some of IWRAW's information concerning prostitution and sex tourism was provided by a University of Minnesota graduate student who interned recently with the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women in the Philippines. back

26 "Philippines Ranks 2nd in Asian Child Prostitution," Asian Political News 29 Jan. 1996 back

27 Johanna Son, "Philippines: Once Again, Government Clamps Down on Sex Fiends," Inter Press Service, 7 August, 1995. back

28 Johanna Son back

29 Karina Constantino-David and Maricris R. Valte, "Poverty, Population Growth and the Impact of Urbanisation in the Philippines," UNESCO 1994. back

30 Filipino Women: Facts and Figures back

31 "Philippines-Women: First Class Students Gain Second Class Jobs." back

32 "First Class Students" back

33 "Beasts of the Adjustment Burden." back

34 "Misleading Figures," Free Labour World, [Brussels], April, 1995. back

35 "Philippines 2000 - a Delusion?" back

36 "Economic Miracle in the Philippines: the other side of the coin," Free Labour World, April 1995. back

37 US Department of State back

38 "Women Workers in Factories and Export Processing Zones," Piglas-Diwas: Issues and Trends about Women of the Philippines: Vol. VIII, No. 1, 1995: 20. back

39 US Department of State back

40 "Beasts of the Adjustment Burden." back

41 Luz Rimban, "Philippines-Women: Worker Exodus Continues Despite Horror Tales," Inter Press Service, 10 November, 1995. back

42 Johanna Son, "Labour-Philippines: Balabagan Returns, Many More Look Overseas," Inter Press Service, 1 August, 1996. back

43 Filipino Women: Facts and Figures. back

44 "The Philippines' Shameful Export." back

45 Eleanor C. Conda, "Filipino Women And The Law," a paper presented at the IWEAJ International Exchange Seminar in Japan, September 1995. back

46 Alcestis Abrera-Mangahas, "Violence Against Women Migrant Workers: A Philippine Reality Check," background paper for the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women, Expert Group Meeting on Violence Against Women Migrant Workers, Manila, Philippines. 27-31 May 1996. back

47 "Major News Items in Leading Philippine Newspapers: The Manila Times," Xinhua English Newswire 7 Sept. 1996. back

48 "The Philippines' Shameful Export" back

49 "The Philippines' Shameful Export" back

50 Women of a Lesser Cost: Female Labour, Foreign Exchange and Philippine Development 33. back

51 "Labour-Philippines: Balabagan Returns, Many More Look Overseas." back

52 "The Lost Daughters." back

53 "Women-Philippines: Exploitation of Performing Artists." back

54 "Women-Philippines: Exploitation of Performing Artists" back

55 The annual population growth is 2.5%, the highest in South Asia and among the highest in the world. (Tasker, 1995) back

56 The information for this section was summarised from a number of well known Philippine research studies by an intern from the University of Minnesota who worked with family planning NGOs in the Philippines in 1996. back

57 World Bank, Project Appraisal Report, Philippines-Agrarian Reform Community Development Project (New York, World Bank, 1996.) back

58 "Beasts of Adjustment Burden." back

59 Beasts of Adjustment Burden." back

60 "Philippines: Logging Companies Responsible for Rights Abuse- Report," Dow Jones Asian Equities Report, 29 April, 1996. back





© COPYRIGHT 2003 All materials on this web site copyright of International Women's Rights Action Watch, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, USA.