President Rodrigo Duterte said he is truly proud of the Philippines’ distinction as a “shining beacon of gender equality and women empowerment in the world.”
Duterte made the remark as he joined the nation in celebrating International Women’s Day.
“Be it in politics, business, the academe, and local communities, most especially in our homes, women have occupied and continue to occupy positions of power and influence in our society,” Duterte said in a statement.
“This emphasizes not only our values as a people, but also the importance we put on women as vital partners in nation-building,” he continued.
“While a growing consciousness on equality is already an impressive feat, and women are breaking the glass ceiling, I believe that we can do more,” said the President, who has been criticized in the past for misogynistic remarks. In 2018, he suggested that government troops should shoot female rebels in the vagina, and last year, he said the presidency was not a job for women.
But on Tuesday, Duterte said as education becomes more accessible, more women will have the chance to meaningfully participate in many aspects of human development and change the mindsets that continue to put women and other gender expressions at a disadvantage.
“So let us all come together in building a country where no one is left behind and everyone has the capacity to succeed. Long live the Filipino women!” Duterte said.
The Commission on Human Rights on Tuesday honored defenders of women’s rights, crediting them for the passage of key legislation on women and girls.
“We celebrate the gains brought about by women’s human rights and gender equality champions in passing key pieces of legislation enhancing protection for women and children,” said Commissioner Karen Gomez-Dumpit.
“Last year, the work of advocates saw the passage of the law prohibiting child marriages, and this year, in time for international women’s day—the passage of another milestone — the law raising the age of sexual consent,” she added.
For many years, the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child have been recommending changes in the country’s laws on child marriage and on the age of sexual consent.
“For many years, women’s human rights advocates drafted, lobbied, consulted, and conducted various awareness raising activities in and out of Congress to push for these legislative measures,” Gomez-Dumpit said.
“It is only apt that this International Women’s Day — we give credit where it is due — our women human rights defenders, our gender equality champions in Congress — most of them courageous and fearless women.”
Meanwhile, to mark International Women’s Day, San Miguel Corp. opened its Better World Cubao (BWC), a health, empowerment, and recovery center for women from underprivileged backgrounds, including victims of violence.
The facility is SMC’s fourth Better World community center built on unused company property to address various issues affecting communities and disadvantaged sectors.
Better World Cubao aims to empower underprivileged women, especially mothers, who have gone through difficult times. The center also provides services to support victims of abuse. A total of 360 mothers have already signed on to the program.