Duterte ‘powerless to protect our OFWs’ — Hontiveros
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte just admitted he is “powerless to protect our OFWs” when he said that rape “comes with the territory,” Senator Risa Hontiveros said on Friday.
“While rape and other forms of sexual abuse are gruesome realities faced by a lot of our overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), by saying that rape ‘comes with the territory’ and is ‘part of the culture’ of working abroad, President Rodrigo Duterte just admitted that he is powerless to protect our OFWs,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
This was in response to Duterte’s earlier remark, saying, “[For those] working as slaves [overseas], rape [comes with] the territory. Kasali sa kultura (It’s part of the culture).”
Hontiveros, chairperson of Senate committee on women, children, family relations and gender equality, added, “So much for ‘tapang at malasakit (courage and devotion).’ It is both a surrender to and state promotion of the rape culture.”
The senator noted how the “President’s apologists acting as ‘Duterpreters,’ will say that he is simply engaging in colorful language.”
“Rape jokes and the trivialization of sexual abuse are not sound bites. They are not creative attempts at word play. They are conscious efforts to weaponize language as a medium in which sexism, gender discrimination and violence against women are committed and replicated,” she said.
But the Senator refuses to get used to the President’s way with his words and urged the public to “push back.”
“Sabi nila dapat masanay na tayo sa pananalita ng Pangulo (They say that we should get used to the President’s speech). Sorry, but I refuse to get used to it. So should the public. We should continue to push back,” Hontiveros said.
“The moment we trivialize violence against women and misogyny is the time we become not only fence-sitters to these vile evils but also complicit in their horrific culture,” she added. /ee
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