FILIPINOS grew up respecting women in authority, from their mothers to their teachers, even their classmates.
I can count by my fingers men who teach in schools. Women mentored me in my elementary to high school years—from the nuns to the teachers. Still mostly women, my instructors, honed my English, Filipino, and Spanish languages in writing and in research.
In my mature age, I look back during those days, and I appreciate the women who taught the knowledge and skills. In my NGO days, I had a female executive director. My colleagues in national to international networks are led by women.
That is why I cannot fathom President Rodrigo Duterte’s misogynistic tirades against women in authority. Take the qualities the next Ombudsman should have. It’s not probity, intelligence, and competence. He got it right in his opening sentence. “I want someone whose integrity people believe in.” I can agree with him on that.
But he has to add, “of course, it could not be a politician, especially not a woman.” A slip of the tongue?
Earlier, he cursed UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard, ridiculed International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, instructed Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales to shut up.
Then he instructed soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to shoot rebels in the vagina to render them useless and whistled and catcalled a female reporter during a press conference.
A loose network of women’s grounds and individual activists launched a social media campaign on Sunday night, May 20, to fight back against the Philippine president whom they painted as a misogynist leader.
Bannering the hashtag #BabaeAko (I am a woman), Filipino women are taking to social media to fight the president’s sexist and misogynistic behavior.
One of the women who joined the campaign is Bacoleña Judy Taguiwalo, a former cabinet member of the Duterte administration.
This week, the 41st Gawad Urian ceremony recognized the best in filmmaking in the past year—and also served as a platform for protest against the “attacks on the civil, political, economic and sovereign rights” of Filipinos under Duterte.
Dozens from the film industry joined the protest by wearing red pins with the text, “Stop the Attacks.” Corinne De San José, who won the award for Best Sound Track said “Dahil babae ako, gusto ko i-dedicate ito sa lahat ng mga babaeng Pilipina dahil sa matinding misogyny na nilalabanan natin ngayon.”
As a reborn Catholic Christian, I implore the president to respect women. He should realize that women are made in the Imago Dei (image of God) and deserving of dignity and respect—they are image bearers.
In Genesis, “So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female” (Genesis 1:27). I love and respect my Mama Mary.
In that sense, although a male, I wholehearted support the call #BabaeAko. (email@example.com)