Duterte hails women as ‘heroes’
President Duterte praised women as “heroes” on Wednesday, vowing that his administration would continue to ensure gender equality in the Philippines even as activists scored the 71-year-old leader for his sexist comments.
Mr. Duterte, who had been criticized for previous comments about women, said in his International Women’s Day message that the Philippines is rich in outstanding women with “invaluable contributions” to society.
The President stressed that generations have seen how women have transformed society in “amazing ways” as mothers, workers, intellectuals, educators, caregivers, soldiers, activists, artists, and leaders.
“Indeed, women are heroes,” Mr. Duterte said. “The entire world can look up to women—for their creativity and imagination, for their courage and boldness, for their self-sacrifice and charity.”
The President, an acknowledged womanizer, said the country was “fertile ground” for outstanding women in various fields, noting that the country has consistently ranked high in terms of gender equality in the Asia Pacific region.
The President had been criticized for previous comments that were described as sexist and inappropriate.
President Duterte had been scored for leering at the knees of Vice President Leni Robredo and for commenting during the campaign that he regretted not having been in line when inmates raped an Australian missionary whom they subsequently murdered.
Robredo, who last year was forced out of the Cabinet, subsequently said the President’s remarks were tasteless and inappropriate.
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