MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte's most trusted aide spoke out against the #BabaeAko campaign slamming the Chief Executive's insults to women.
Special Assistant to the President Bong Go alleged that efforts to label Duterte as a misogynist are obviously politically-motivated.
"To say that President Duterte is not pro-women and looks down on women is truly unfair. These allegations are clearly political," he said in a statement on Wednesday, May 23.
He said that Duterte's style of self-expression "has always been taken out of context."
Duterte, in public speeches, has threatened to shoot female communist rebels in the vagina and has joked about promoting Filipina virgins as a come-on for foreign tourists.
Duterte also recently declared that his appointee for the position of Ombudsman will definitely not be a woman. He did not elaborate why.
Go insisted that Duterte "has always been a firm believer and protector of Women’s Rights."
"He has high respect for women. In fact, he has pushed for local laws and created programs that uphold women’s rights while he was still mayor of Davao City including the landmark Women Development Code and the creation of the Integrated Gender Development Division of Davao City," said the presidential aide.
Aside from his remarks about women, observers have pointed out Duterte's penchant to lash out against female critics.
He has cursed UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard, insulted and teased marriage to Vice President Leni Robredo, mocked International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, instructed Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales to shut up, and many more.
The #BabaeAko movement is a social media campaign started by a loose network of female activists. One of the women who joined the campaign is Judy Taguiwalo, who served as Duterte's first social welfare secretary until she was rejected by the Commission on Appointments.
The #BabaeAko videos begin with a quick introduction of the Filipina authoring the post, followed by a short description of herself and a message to President Duterte. All videos ended with a declaration: “Lalaban ako (I will fight back)." – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.