Filipino women from various church groups in Manila marked Valentine's Day
on Feb. 14 with a protest dance to dramatize their call for an end to violence against women. The gathering aims to "affirm the participation of women in defending life and dignity," said the Ecumenical Women’s Forum in a statement. "It is most rational to speak up about the truth of our situation as we seek justice and continue our struggle against tyrants and dictators," the group added. Minnie Anne Mata-Calub, acting general-secretary of the National Council of Churches, said the protest also "aims to call out the misogynistic and anti-women policies of the government." In a statement, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines noted that violence against women has become more evident as a result of pronouncements and remarks made about them by President Rodrigo Duterte
. Calub called on Filipino women "to break a culture of silence and oppose policies" that affect and burden women and children. The Office of Women and Gender of the Association of Major Religious Superiors said Filipino women are suffering because of the government's bloody war against illegal drugs
. "The senseless killings of suspected drug users and peddlers must stop and justice be given to those mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters who lost their loved ones," said Holy Spirit Sister Evelyn Jose. The nun said Catholics should "make a stand against any form of violence."