Gabriela mulls raps vs Tolentino, Agarao for girls’ lewd dance during LP event
A women’s rights group is looking at filing charges against Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chair Francis Tolentino and Laguna Rep. Benjie Agarao for allowing to continue the “lewd and indecent” show last week, which coincided with a Liberal Party event in the province, despite the presence of children in the audience.
Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan said on Sunday that Tolentino and Agarao clearly violated the Magna Carta of Women when they “condoned” the acts of the trio Playgirls, who performed sexy dances onstage and hosted parlor games filled with sexual innuendos, during the Laguna lawmaker’s birthday celebration on Thursday.
“If you condone these activities, you’re promoting [them],” Ilagan said, noting that exposing children to such shows has been deemed a form of violence by the law.
Last week, the MMDA chief drew flak for supposedly gifting the trio to Agarao who was celebrating his 58th birthday and 40 years of government service. The girls went onstage after Interior Secretary Mar Roxas swore in and welcomed to the administration party 80 new members from the province.
Ilagan said that as a head of a government agency, Tolentino should have been more cautious and mindful since under Republic Act 9710, or the Magna Carta of Women, agencies such as the MMDA have been required to undergo gender sensitivity lectures “to ensure that employees become more sensitive.”
Ilagan said that Tolentino showed that “he is very insensitive,” and that his actions was a “return to the old ways where a woman is being looked at as mere commodity.”
Gabriela secretary general Joms Salvador urged the Commission on Human Rights and the Philippine Commission on Women “to transcend party lines” on this incident, noting that the government has been mandated to set a noteworthy example to the public, especially in the recognition and promotion of women’s rights and dignity. She added that inaction to this case would send the wrong message to the public that it would be okay to use women as toys and use them for entertainment.
In the wake of the Laguna incident, Salvador announced Gabriela would intensify its campaign against politicians who would “use and exploit” women to advance their candidacies.
“We urge women to demand that the level of electoral campaigns be raised to discussing platforms and debating on issues that will address basic women’s problems such as joblessness and violence. Politicians should recognize women as a potent social force rather than mere objects to be given as gifts,” she said.
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