MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday defended his recent remarks against women that earned him the ire of rights groups.
Responding to the criticisms, Duterte said he still trusts the capabilities and competence of women, but that there are certain tasks that are not suitable for them.
“[Women are] unlike men, kami suntukan, bakbakan, barilan. We grew up in a sort of mindset na sometimes prone to violence,” Duterte said in a speech during the inauguration of the Davao River Bridge at Carlos P. Garcia Highway in Davao City.
(Women are unlike men. We engage in brawls, shootings. We grew up with a mindset that is sometimes prone to violence.)
“Itong mga babae, mga prim and proper man yan, isang tingin lang sa nanay, tunaw na ‘yan. Tapos gawin mong pulis? Hindi sa wala akong bilib. I believe in the woman, their competence and capability, pero hindi lahat sa buhay dapat.”
(Women are prim and proper. With just one look of their mothers, they will melt. And you will make them cops? It’s not that I don’t trust them. I believe in the woman, their competence and capability, but not in all aspects of life.)
Duterte was recently criticized for saying that he preferred a “non-woman” as his next pick for a crucial government post.
In the wake of Duterte’s comment which some pro-women’s groups find to be “misogynistic,” various netizens launched the social media campaign #BabaeAko.
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.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, meanwhile, said the President’s statement was just “a mere play of words.”
“PRRD’s statement reflects his growing frustration over the continuous and non-stop tirades against his Administration by the ousted Chief Justice and the Ombudsman,” Roque said in a statement released Wednesday.
Duterte had appointed women to his Cabinet, including former social welfare secretary Judy Taguiwalo, former environment secretary Gina Lopez, former tourism secretary Wanda Teo, and former housing secretary Vice President Leni Robredo.
Among the women in Duterte’s current Cabinet are acting social secretary Virginia Orogo and tourism secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.