Poe to Duterte: What will happen to women in your presidency?

Pia Ranada
Poe to Duterte: What will happen to women in your presidency?

Manila Bulletin

Duterte responds by listing down pro-women programs in Davao City where he has served as mayor for 23 years

MANILA, Philippines – “Ano po ang kinahinatnan ng babae sa inyong administrasyon?” Grace Poe asked presidential race front-runner Rodrigo Duterte during the last presidential debate on Sunday, April 24.

Before the question, she listed down issues surrounding Duterte and his treatment of women during his campaign. This includes his recent remark on a raped Australian woman and his flirting with his female supporters. 

Duterte responded by naming Davao City’s pro-women programs.

“In Davao City, we are the first city to come up with the Women’s [Development] Code. Davao City is the only city with a police department with no vice squad. I have disbanded it because they used to arrest sexual workers. The only person who can arrest them will only be the city health who will order the police,” he said.

Davao City’s Women Development Code has been adopted by other local government units in the Philippines. The provisions of the code are implemented by the Integrated Gender Division which checks if government offices and private sector establishments are following the Code.

‘I am I’

But Poe responded, saying that Davao City programs for women do not mean Duterte can speak disrespectfully about women.

Sa tingin niyo ba na porque’t may women’s desk, puwede na ‘yung ganoong pananalita? Marami talagang na-attract sa iyo, kaya mas madali para inyo na hawakan sila. Sa publiko, hindi naman ata maganda ‘yan,” she said. 

(Do you think that just because there is a women’s desk, you can speak that way? Many women are attracted to you, making it easy for you to hold them close. But in public, that does not look good.) 

An unfazed Duterte repeated his previous statements: that he cannot change his identity just for the presidency. 

“That is what I am. You are you, and I am I. So ‘yan ang identity ko dito sa mundong ito (That is my identity in this world),” he said.

But Duterte added an explanation for his controversial rape remark, saying there was no malice intended towards women or rape victims. 

“There was no malice in that. It was just a narration,” he said, repeating that the scandalous remark was first said in 1989 and he had repeated it to be accurate in his narration. He has admitted the remark was offensive and he had apologized for it years ago.

Black propaganda?

But he also explained that he brought up the remark to jump the gun on alleged black propaganda. 

“One of these guys, kumukuha ng original tape sa galit ko. Binibili nga nila ng one million. Inunahan ko na because kung maglabas ‘yan ngayon at this hour very late [in the] day, I would have a hard time coping with it. Kaya linabas ko na,” he said.

(One of these guys is trying to get the original tape. They want to buy it for P1 million. So I jumped the gun on it because if it is released now at this hour, very late in the day, I would have a hard time coping with it. So I brought it out.)

Duterte has apologized for his foul language but is vague on whether he is sorry or not for uttering the specific rape remark.

Later on in the debate, Duterte was also asked which positions in his cabinet he would give to a woman.

“Tourism and, well, if she is really bright, finance. Any [department],” he responded. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.