MANILA - A shame campaign against government officials who disrespect women in public events was launched on Thursday, in celebration of International Women's Day.
The public may report offensive remarks or deeds by government officials by sending a message to "BantayBastos," a Facebook page dedicated to call out sexist and misogynist public servants, #EveryWoman convenor Teresita Deles said in an International Women's Day forum held at the University of the Philippines in Diliman.
"We are tallying all the indecent remarks made by top government officials and will release a list of sexist politicians at least once a month," said Deles, who was the peace process adviser of former President Benigno Aquino III.
Detained Senator Leila de Lima, whose personal life was pried open in a congressional inquiry in November 2016 for her affair with former driver Ronnie Dayan, said in a statement that the BantayBastos campaign would be a "source of hope for other victims of misogyny and other abusive conducts."
"What is best about the campaign is that it is a way to hold people, especially public figures, accountable for their words and actions," De Lima said.
The move was also lauded by female journalists who convened in UP to discuss the plight of women in the field.
"Ang nakakalungkot ngayon is 'yung pinagtatawanan na ang pangbabastos. It's so sad na papalakpakan ka, parang ang cute mo, ang macho mo kapag nagsabi ka ng bastos," broadcast journalist Kara David said.
"Kapag 'yung pambabastos ay umabot na sa level na puwede na pagtawanan, nakakatakot na 'yun kasi baka dumating 'yung time na if you get raped, get catcalled, pagtatawanan ka pa," she said.
David said the term "presstitutes" - a portmanteau of the words press and prostitute - should also be considered a degrading term against the media.
"Calling media presstitutes is a propaganda para ibaba ang kredibilidad ng media," she said.
Journalist Jo Clemente said women should be vigilant against verbal harassment committed by public officials and have the courage to demand accountability.
"Dapat nangunguna sa atin 'yung inner strength natin na kilalanin natin ang ating inner rights and assert it. Kung isa kang babae at assertive ka sa right mo, hindi ka mababastos," Clemente said.
As of Thursday, photos of President Rodrigo Duterte, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, and Communications Secretary Martin Andanar were among those posted on the BantayBastos Facebook page.
Last month, Duterte ordered government troops to shoot female rebels in their genitalia.
In May last year, Sotto drew flak for calling former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo "na-ano lang," a Filipino phrase used to refer to women who got pregnant out of wedlock.
Andanar was also criticized in October for publicly saying that European Union officials critical of Duterte just need more sex.