Tacloban City- In celebration of the annual Women’s Month, GABRIELA Youth Metro Tacloban once again organized Istorya Han Mga Puday, the Waray version of the play Vagina Monologues written by Eve Ensler and held at the Library Building of the University of the Philippines in Tacloban. The local adaptation of Ensler’s play is the 4th to be organized in Eastern Visayas since its introduction in 2014.
The Monologue kick-started with a poem written by Joi Barros-Le Banc and performed by GABRIELA Youth Metro Tacloban chairperson Alecs Oriol in response to President Duterte’s February statement ordering the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to shoot female rebels in the vagina.
The program was also dedicated to slain women activists like Jo Lapira and Kamil Manangan who died at the hands of the AFP and downplayed the murder of Lapira and other activists last January by tagging them as members of the New People’s Army (NPA). Meanwhile, the organizers flashed a vibrant message saying women are among the most economically exploited sectors in modern day society.
Featuring performances from volunteer actresses who embodied different aspects of what a vagina represents and the varied experiences of women with their vagina, the play provided an artistic approach in discussing the topic of female genitalia, considered by Gabriela Youth as “unjustly taboo”.
“Women should be free to talk and discuss matters about their vagina and questions about their sexuality without being persecuted or maligned by the rest of society. This play is an avenue to campaign for precisely that” says Gabriela Youth Metro Tacloban in a statement.
Among the segments portrayed was “Abuso” which tells the story of a woman raped by state forces, 16 of them, for seven days straight. Another segment was that of “Bulbol” which tackled harsh and unjust standards imposed on women to please their male partners.
The program capped off with a message from the actresses now lining up on stage, enjoining the audience to resist the patriarchal society that has repressed women of their civil liberties and economic rights. The actresses also called on more women to rise and call for the ouster of President Rodrigo Duterte after tagging his administration as “nothing short of a macho-fascist dictatorship that is anti-women”.