MANILA - A senator advocating women's rights expressed alarm over the consistency of President Rodrigo Duterte's use of offensive language against women in public, which she said contributes to a culture conducive to harassment.
Speaking to ANC Thursday, International Women's Day, Senator Risa Hontiveros said she has recorded at least 23 instances when the President said foul words against women, including the speech when he told soldiers to shoot women rebels in the genitals.
"Namo-monitor na namin. Pattern talaga e. It's persistent. It's repeated. In the last one and a half years, he has at least two dozen times, or 23 times, said things deliberately offensive to women," she said.
Hontiveros said foul words cannot be considered "jokes", coming from the most powerful government official in the land. She added that "normalization" of offensive talk against women should stop.
"Sa mga pananalita niya, which are not just insensitive but also offensive to women, have, I believe, instigated unprecedented level of violence. Makikita natin ang rape statistics and sexual harassment statistics are on the rise in the last one and a half years," she said.
The Palace has repeatedly defended Duterte against criticism from various women's group. Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the public should not take the Chief Executive literally when he says words that may offend women.
"Let us not take the words of the President literally, but of course we should take the President’s words seriously," Roque said, adding that Duterte must be judged based on his actions and not on his words.
Hontiveros has filed the three bills to fight sexual harassment. The "Tres Marias" bills, she said, seek to strengthen the existing anti-rape law, criminalize gender-based electronic violence, and peer-to-peer sexual harassment.