MANILA – Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo reminded the critics of President Rodrigo R. Dutere on Monday that the protection of women's rights remains a top priority of the Chief Executive, despite a joke about why his hometown, Davao City, is the highest case of rape in 2018.
"The human rights critics and opponents of PRRD are once again practicing mosquito-eating and fiddling [sic] about a statement about the fact that many beautiful women were raped in Davao, making it a basis to accuse him of hatred of women, "said Panelo in a press statement.
Panelo explained that the critics of Duterte always "distorted" the meaning of his remarks when the president only made a theory that "beautiful women" perpetuated the rape culture.
"They always distort the intentions of the president's remarks: PRRD praised himself only for the fact that Davao, where he comes from and is mayor for 23 years, blends with beautiful women and at the same time continues the theory that their beauty is a motivating reason may be why the rapists are sexually abusing them, "Panelo said.
The lawyer pointed out how Duterte "honored" his deceased mother, Soledad, and introduced projects and measures that protect women's rights and promote their cause.
During his tenure as mayor of Davao City, Duterte was able to implement a local version of the health law before it was legally established at the national level.
Duterte also set up the health and wellness center that offers alternatives for family planning.
He also supported the efforts of the Davao City Council to introduce the women's code in 1997, paving the way for the massive campaign against gender bias in government buildings.
As president, Duterte forbade the deployment of foreign Filipino workers in Kuwait to protect female labor migrants from abuse and exploitation.
He also signed Executive Order No. 12, which seeks to achieve and support "zero unmet need for modern family planning" through the implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act.
In addition, he said that Duterte recognized distinguishing women by appointing them to his cabinet and to other senior offices in the government, the last of which being a woman at the helm of a male-dominated Supreme Court.
Tourism Department Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat is the most recent female secretary who becomes a member of the Duterte cabinet. Newly appointed Supreme Court Chief Judge Teresita Leonardo-De Castro is the first female Chief Justice in the Philippines.
Maria Lourdes Sereno was the first woman to be appointed Chief Judge in 2012, but her appointment was declared invalid by the Supreme Court in May for not fully disclosing her statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.
More liberal in the south
Earlier, the presidential spokesman Harry Roque defended Duterte's remark and noted that the & # 39; standard & # 39; from what is offensive and what is not offensive & # 39; more liberal in the south & # 39 ;.
"I do not think we should impose too much on what the president says jokingly, some may not approve of it, but – you know, I can tell you this, there's a difference between the sense of humor in Luzon, Visayas. and Mindanao, "Roque said.
"And from what I've seen myself, even though I come from Luzon, people in the south, especially in Cebu and the Visayas, they do not take things as seriously as people in Luzon," he added.
Gabriela Women & # 39; s Party condemned Duterte's remark about rape and called it a "flamboyant display of hatred of women, which makes more Filipino women at risk of being raped."
Senator Risa Hontiveros also closed the president's remark and urged him not to blame women for what they looked like and how they dressed, raping rapists, not beauty. (PNA)