Gabriela clarifies stand: Catcalling 'demeans women'
MANILA, Philippines – Gabriela party list on Sunday, June 5, clarified its stance on President-elect Rodrigo Duterte's catcalling of a female reporter, after a party-list official earlier said that the act was not a form of sexual harassment.
In a post on its official Facebook account, Gabriela reiterated its support for women's rights and welfare.
"In the interest of clarity, GABRIELA and Gabriela Women's Party reiterate our unwavering and firm position on matters pertaining to women's rights and welfare in the light of news that again placed such interest in the limelight," the party list said.
It added: "Catcalling is improper. It is an uncalled-for act that is demeaning to women. In fact, ordinances in Quezon City and even in Davao City saw the need to address this offensive demeanor and included it as one form of sexual harassment."
Gabriela said Duterte, as the country's incoming president, should help educate the public on women's rights. After all, the party list said, he previously supported measures for the benefit of women.
"As the highest official of the country, we hope President Rodrigo Duterte will help educate the general public on the respect of women's rights, as reflected in the first of its kind Gender Development Code pushed by women's rights advocates, including GABRIELA-Davao and supported by President Duterte as Mayor in Davao City."
This is contrary, however, to the earlier statement of Gabriela Representative Luz Ilagan, who said catcalling is "not a form of sexual harassment," just an improper act. Ilagan ran for councilor in Davao City.
"It's not sexual harassment. Whistling is not a form of sexual harassment... Siguro improper lang siya na behavior under the circumstances na hindi dapat ganoon (Maybe it's just improper behavior under the circumstances)," she earlier said.
Ilagan asserted Duterte is "different," and that he should be accepted for it. She added the new leader is just used to the Bisaya manner of speaking.
"We have to accept that our President is different and he is working under a cultural way of communicating. Ganoon naman talaga mga Bisaya (That's really how Visayans speak). They are sarcastic. We exaggerate. We make fun pero accepted naman talaga (it's really accepted). It's just a manner of speaking but not the thought, it's not the content," Ilagan said. (READ: Davao's policies on women clash with Duterte's macho lingo)
Keep your words, promises
Meanwhile, the party list, in its clarificatory statement, said it is expecting the president-elect to keep his words and promises, not just on women's rights.
"President Duterte has promised change and therefore we expect that he will be true to his word and institute such changes. Gabriela extends its hand of cooperation with the incoming administration in advancing women's vision of good governance and development through socio-economic, political and cultural reforms."
Gabriela also invited Duterte to a Women's Summit in Davao City this month, which will be attended by other women's organizations.
The summit aims to "constructively thresh out differences" with the incoming president and discuss ways on how violence against women and children can be addressed. – Rappler.com