Gabriela on Duterte rape joke: It is a serious crime
DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Women’s group Gabriela cried foul over the recent alleged rape joke of presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
“Rape is a serious crime not just against women but against humanity,” said Gabriela national vice chairperson Gert Libang.
A spliced video started circulating online showing Duterte sharing a story about a hostage-taking in a jail in Davao City where a lady Australian lay worker was raped and killed.
Duterte reportedly joked about someone being first in raping the Australian missionary worker.
“Rape, or any form of sexual abuse is not a joke, nor something to be trivialized in a joke, especially by a public official and most especially by those aspiring for the highest post in the land,” Libang said.
Libang urged Duterte to immediately make a public apology for his statement.
“Mayor Rodrigo Duterte should immediately apologize for his statements making fun of rape,” Libang remarked.
Gabriela also challenged Duterte to use this opportunity to discuss and raise issues about the women sector instead of making fun of them.
“We also challenge him to use his campaign to promote issues that will elevate the condition of women and their families,” Linang said.
This as the Forum on Women for Action with Rody Duterte (ForwaRD) Women said the Davao City mayor pledged to study the draft of the electoral agenda that the group submitted to him.
Last April 11, about a thousand women leaders gathered in Manila to do a “bottoms up style formulation” of their agenda for Duterte.
“Not one candidate, even the women candidates (Senator Grace) Poe and (Senator Miriam Defensor) Santiago who are running for president, did such a thing,” said ForwaRD Women steering committee and facilitator Atty. Dinah Tolentino-Fuentes.
“He has accepted and pledged to study the output as such grassroots and democratic agenda setting will greatly impact the women sector’s role in nation-building, as well as enforce the sector’s participation in the electoral and decision-making process,” Fuentes added.
Despite his absence in the Luzon leg of the gatherings for the agenda drafting, Duterte was present in Cebu City, Cebu last April 2 and the ForwaRD Women launching in Davao City in February.
The group is an alliance of women professionals, women groups and ordinary citizens coming from the workers and urban poor sectors.
The group said that the gatherings were an exercise of “grassroots and democratic agenda setting for women.”
The identified and unified electoral agenda include the creation of a “platform where women under the economic and social security aspect would institutionalize support and budget for education especially of adult women.”
The agenda also include allocating significant subsidies for schools and alternative learning centers for Moro and indigenous peoples. These schools were allegedly targeted by armed militias, which led to the closure of schools and massive displacements in Mindanao.
“It was also emphasized in the forum that a livelihood component be given particular attention especially for women involved in disasters and natural calamities as they bear the brunt of looking for food while minding their children,” the group said.
A representative of solo parents also raised in the electoral agenda that livelihood and financial support be given more attention by the next set of leaders. RAM
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