The concept was formulated from series of meeting and periodic activities and campaigns coordinated by the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) vis-a-vis issues of repression and injustice.
Since 2004, the CTUHR occasionally coordinates activities among victims. It gives assistance in filing complaints or cases in government agencies, conducts Fact Finding Missions (FFMs) and dialogues between victims and the authorities. Whilst they were helpful in bringing the issues out, the actual condition and situation of families so they can be continually assisted and involved in their quest for justice, while coping with their traumas were not given with sufficient weight. This was due to CTUHR’s lack of resources.
In the case of women workers who were abused or displaced in the exercises of their right to unionize, the CTUHR’s response was able inconsistent due to limited capacity. Often, after the picket lines were dispersed and the unions busted, the expression of their campaigns and struggles gradually lost, until the workers slowly leave their struggle and start looking for other jobs as economic needs and political pressure set in. CTUHR was not able to conduct regular follow-ups of cases primarily because of lack of manpower and immediate issues that have to be addressed.
This experience was thoroughly assessed and subsequently came out with conclusion that it is time fro the families of victims and the victims themselves to actively participate, if not lead, in the struggle related to their issues. It is not only effective but is is more empowering as they take center stage in attaining justice through continuous and unrelenting struggle, with or without the presence of CTUHR.
In addition, their experience can also serve as lesson and inspiration on how to deal with obstacles in life with courage, and as they say it, with a smile on their faces.
The Women Wise3 was formally launched in a dialogue with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and a forum on August 13, 2008 at the University of the Philippines Diliman. It was also the day of commemorating a dark chapter in the history of workers’ struggle: the crackdown of 1982.