#BabaeAko blasts Duterte, aide comes to his defense

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 23 2018 03:34 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte’s top aide on Wednesday came to his defense after a social media campaign was launched criticizing the chief executive’s remarks against women.

Rights groups and other netizens recently launched the social media campaign #BabaeAko to protest what they deem as misogynist comments from Duterte, the most recent of which is his supposed preference for a “non-woman” appointee in a crucial government post.

Duterte’s top aide, Bong Go, however, insisted that the President “has always been a firm believer and protector of women’s rights.”

In a statement, Go cited Duterte’s supposed pro-women policies when he was still mayor of Davao City, as it has been in previous Palace statements defending the President’s “sexist” comments.

“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. Because of these advocacies, Davao City has been recognized as a Gender and Development Local Learning Hub in the Philippines,” he said.

“President Duterte’s way of self-expression has always been taken out of context but, to say that President Duterte is not pro-women and looks down on women is truly unfair. These allegations are clearly political,” he added.

Inday Espina-Varona, co-convenor of Let’s Organize for Democracy and Integrity, said the social media campaign was launched as it was the easiest way to “encourage women to speak out.”

Judy Taguiwalo, Duterte’s former social welfare secretary, also supported the campaign.

“The President, through his pronouncement and attacks on women critical of his rule has reinforced misogyny and has set back the gains we have made in advancing women’s equality in the country,” she said in a statement.