Lawmakers to Bertiz: Comparing menstrual periods to your behavior ‘demeaning to women’

Mara Cepeda
Lawmakers to Bertiz: Comparing menstrual periods to your behavior ‘demeaning to women’

Rappler.com

(UPDATED) 'Kaming mga babae ay walang problema sa regla. Ang isyu ay ang arogansya niya,' says Gabriela Representative Emmi de Jesus

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Pro-women empowerment lawmakers called out ACTS-OFW Representative John Bertiz for likening his bad behavior at the airport to a woman going through her monthly menstrual period. 

“It’s grossly inappropriate and inexcusable behaviour. Comparing his behaviour to a woman’s monthly period is demeaning to women who go through such natural process with dignity even if faced with intense work and home pressures,” Akbayan Representative Tom Villarin told Rappler on Monday, October 1. 

Bertiz has been under fire after a video of him confronting a security checker at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) went viral online over the weekend.  

In the video, the security checker appears to tell Bertiz to remove his shoes at a security checkpoint. Bertiz was then seen flashing his own ID to the security checker’s face before grabbing the latter’s ID off his jacket.

Bertiz already apologized for the incident, but he compared his behavior at NAIA to a woman going through her monthly period

For the past 3 years that I’ve been a member of Congress, once a year na medyo nadadapuan po tayo ng monthly period…. ‘Di ko na rin po maiaalis na tao lang po, na marupok at umiinit ang ulo. Naii-stress din sa trabaho,” said Bertiz.

(For the past 3 years that I’ve been a member of Congress, once a year I get something like a monthly period…. I’m only human, someone who’s weak and sometimes gets hotheaded. I also get stressed because of work.) 

This was unacceptable for Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Emmi de Jesus.

Kaming mga babae ay walang problema sa regla. Ang isyu ay ang arogansya niya,” said De Jesus. 

(Us women do not have any issues with our period. The issue here is his arrogance.) 

She added that women should not be stereotyped as arrogant and entitled during their menstrual period.

Huwag niyang idamay ang kababaihan kasi siya ang may problema (Don’t involve women here because he’s the one with the problem),” said De Jesus.

On Tuesday, October 2, Dinagat Islands Representative Kaka Bag-ao said women treat their menstrual cycles as a “badge of honor” and they “do not ask for a free pass to behave in such a way that seems negative to the eyes of men.”

Kapag babae ang nagtaray, may regla lang daw ‘yan – pero kapag lalaki ang naging ganyan, matapang na kaagad? (When a woman gets angry, they assume she’s on her period – but when a man acts that way, he’s brave?) When a man shows anger, people think it’s a display of strength. When a woman does the same, people think it’s because of her monthly period,” said Bag-ao.

“And when a man uses our monthly period as an excuse for his behavior, he believes that he gets that same non-existent free pass that we never seek to have. It’s 2018, yet we still live in a sexist society,” she added.

Minority lawmakers who are allied with Bertiz are already mulling filing an ethics complaint against him. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.