MANILA- The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) slammed President Rodrigo Duterte's remarks that the Philippines would "offer 42 virgins" to those who would visit the country, saying it is "utterly degrading" for Filipinas.
In a statement, the CHR said Duterte's remarks, even as a joke, are "appalling" as these objectify women.
"These kinds of repeated sexist remarks strip Filipino women of their dignity and human rights. It diminishes women’s ownership of their bodies and reduces them to mere sexual objects," the agency said.
"It is utterly degrading for Filipino women to be spoken of in such manner, even as a joke, by the highest official of the land," it added.
Duterte made the remark before Indian and Filipino businessmen in India last Friday while criticizing the "totally bankrupt" ideology of the Islamic State-terrorists who laid siege to Marawi City for 5 months last year.
"The come-on is that if you die a martyr, you go to heaven with 42 virgins waiting for you. Well, if I could just make it a come-on also for those who'd like to go to my country," the President said.
Malacañang has defended the President's remarks, saying it was "clearly a joke" and there is no need for Duterte to clarify what he said.
The CHR urged the government to uphold laws that protect women, and called on the public to defend women's rights.
"The challenge of the present times is to elevate the discussions to principled, constructive debates. We need exchanges that enrich the discourse on human rights promotion and protection—not degrade them," it said.