Feminist offers Duterte free gender sensitivity training

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (ABS-CBN News file photo)
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (ABS-CBN News file photo)

It’s tough being a Filipino woman these days when no less than the president has been spewing misogynistic remarks.

It’s become such a problem that President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent sexist comments have even led Nathalie Africa Verceles, director of the University of the Philippines’ Women and Gender Studies, to offer him free gender sensitivity training during an interview yesterday.

Addressing the president in an interview with radio station DZMM, Verceles said: “The UP Center for Gender Studies invites you for a gender sensitivity training. We will go to Malacañang for him and for other officials who haven’t undergone such training.”

In the past few weeks, the always-quotable Duterte has been saying a few things that have raised the eyebrows of all feminists in the country.

While identifying the characteristics of the country’s next chief justice earlier this month, Duterte said: “I want people to believe in the person’s integrity. Of course, it can’t be a politician, especially not a woman.”

This comes after the Philippines’ Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, the first woman to hold the position, was ousted after a majority of justices voted in favor of a controversial quo warranto petition against her.

There’s also Duterte’s speech at an event on May 20, where he extolled the benefits of having two wives.

“I have a second wife. I have one child with her. So I have two wives. If a vehicle, which is made of metal, would need a spare tire, how much more for us human beings?” he said in Visayan.

The president’s remarks have led to the use of the hashtag #BabaeAko (I am a woman) on social media. Using the hashtag, women have spoken out against Duterte, leading one of his close aides, Bong Go, to call the movement “unfair” and “clearly political.”

In the past, Duterte has also made incendiary comments such as instructing soldiers to shoot female rebels in the vagina.

He also said in a campaign event before assuming office that he should have been the first person to rape Australian missionary Jacqueline Hamill, who was killed when she was held hostage in Davao, Duterte’s hometown, in 1989.

The gender sensitivity training Verceles offered usually takes an entire day but she said it could be cut down to one hour to accommodate Duterte’s busy schedule.

It’s doubtful if the president will take up on the offer, but he should. How often do you get free stuff these days?

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