"Maybe the President is speaking as a protective parent."
It is no secret to everyone that President Duterte has some unconventional views on various social issues such as religion and, politics. His latest appears to be in the medical field when he poured cold water on any presidential aspirations of his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte and to those who are pushing for the mayor to run for president.
According to Mr. Duterte, the Presidency is no job for women because their emotional make-up is different from men’s. He said further that if his daughter does run and win, she would just become some sort of punching bag and he would not like her to have to go through what he is currently going through.
This being the 21st century, many would say that President Duterte is simply dead wrong. He most certainly is. There is now what we call gender equality which is one way of saying that there is now no limit to what women can do. The old stereotypes of the “fairer” sex have long been buried. There are now women as front-line combat troops, women fighter jet pilots and yes, strong women political leaders. Think of Indira Gandhi of India, Margaret Thatcher of the United Kingdom, Golda Meir of Israel and Angela Merkel of Germany who is in her fourth term as Chancellor, to name a few. The trailblazer for modern women political leaders was Sirimavo Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka who was the first woman to be elected head of government in the world when she became Prime Minister in 1960. If we go further back into history, there was Catherine the Great of Russia and Elizabeth 1 of England.
And, lest we forget, we have had two women presidents of our own. In fact, if there is one thing that our country can be proud of, it has consistently landed in the top ten all over the world when it comes to gender equality.
Perhaps the President is looking at this more from the point of view of a loving parent. We do have to admit that being President in this beloved land of ours is not a walk in the park and that is putting it mildly. The issues that a president has to deal with in this country is mind boggling. So, perhaps we can understand where he is coming from.
Still, if that Pulse Asia survey is accurate, those kinds of surveys cannot simply be ignored. After all, there is still time until the 2022 presidential elections. From what I hear, there are already quite a number of people positioning themselves for that election. They are not necessarily running for the highest office; they might just be looking for someone to whom they can hitch their stars. In politics, one always follows the coattails of the perceived strongest contender.
In an interview, however, Mayor Sara said that she is not interested or inclined to run for president. Should we now close the book on this issue? I would think not. Better to wait and see.
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It is unfortunate that at this late stage of the ball game, there is still controversy surrounding the procurement of vaccines. If we try to simplify the issue, it all boils down to the perceived preference by the government of the Chinese-developed Sinovac over other vaccines with higher reported efficacy rates and lower prices. Never mind the issue of corruption that is also floating around.
Some senators are asking: What is so special about Sinovac considering that it has a reported efficacy rate of only 49.58 per cent and appears to be more expensive? Furthermore, it has only filed its application for Emergency Use Authorization with our Food and Drug Administration recently. Now there is already a signed agreement to purchase. Secretary Galvez has also apparently signed agreements with Covovax of India which is just undergoing trials and others to bring the total vaccine brands to about six. This seem to indicate that the vaccine czar is playing it safe by trying to buy from all available pharmaceutical companies to ensure that the country will have sufficient vaccine doses to vaccinate 70 million people to achieve herd immunity. This is understandable. In doing so however, this might prevent the government from achieving its goal because people are being choosy.
Considering that only about 30 percent of Filipinos are willing to be vaccinated, the primary drive of the government must be to procure vaccines that the people have confidence in. Otherwise, vaccination will have problems before the program could begin. Right now, the people prefer Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca and not the others like Sinovac. Why cannot the government simply be completely transparent instead of trying to obfuscate the public?