Ronda Girls: How Filipino Mothers Took on the War on Drugs. – Hybrid Service

Presenter: Marielle Marcaida. Moderator: Huron Smith

Professor Marielle Marcaida will discuss the unusual role that a group of women in the Philippines undertook during the Duterte administration’s “war on drugs.” A group of mothers and grandmothers showed how care and compassion are better alternatives to the safety of their community than the all- out war waged by the Duterte administration to resolve the Philippines’ drug problem. This group of 35 women, who call themselves the Ronda ng Kababaihan (Women’s Patrol), is a volunteer organization in Sitio Pagkakaisa, Pateros, dedicated to conducting night patrols and imposing curfews, clearing the streets free of potential targets of motorcycle-riding gunmen. Instead of relying on force and fear, the women use their moral authority as mothers and rapport with the neighborhood and police as weapons. Through their years-long dedication and commitment to the night patrols, they successfully prevented succeeding drug killings in their community. Furthermore, the local police recognized their initiative as a “best practice” for its contributions to crime reduction and increased police trust.

Marielle Y. Marcaida is an assistant professor at the Department of Political Science of the University of the Philippines Diliman. She writes research and has published peer-reviewed works focusing on political activism, motherist politics, and the Philippine drug war. Starting autumn this year, she will pursue her Ph.D. in Feminist Studies at the University of Washington, where she will continue to develop her work on the expansion of motherist movements as a reaction to the gendered violence and crisis of care inflicted by the Duterte administration’s “war on drugs.”