The government is taking pride of President Duterte’s record in advancing women empowerment in the country despite criticisms on his past disparaging remarks about women.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the country has kept its status as the “most gender equal nation” in Asia based on a 2020 report made by World Economic Forum under the Duterte administration.
“Napakalaking suporta ang binibigay ng Presidente sa kababaihan. Ang patunay nito ay number one nga po tayo ‘no sa buong Asya, ito po’y according sa World Economic Forum. (The President gives huge support for women. Proof of this is we are number one in Asia, according to the World Economic Forum).
We are number one in closing the gender gap,” Roque said during a Palace press briefing Monday, March 8.
“‘Yung mga nagsasabing hindi raw po talaga tinataguyod ng Presidente ang karapatan ng ating kababaihan, eh sino ba hong presidente na nagbigay ng ganiyang distinction sa Pilipinas? (To those alleging the President does not uphold the rights of women, name a president who gave such distinction to the Philippines?),” he added.
According to Roque, the Philippines ranked first in Asia and 16th worldwide in closing gender disparity.
“Ang Pilipinas lang ang nag-iisang bansa sa Asya na nasa Top 20, ang sumunod na ay ang bansang Laos na nasa Number 43 (The Philippines is the only country in Asia included in top 20, followed by Laos at 43rd place),” he said.
In the Global Gender Gap Report 2020 of WEF, the Philippines placed 16th among 153 countries with the narrowest gap between men and women, dropping from 8th place in 2019.
In measuring progress on gender parity, the country scored high in closing gander gap in economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, and health and survival.
The country’s political empowerment score, however, declined amid the low women representation in government.
Roque said critics have tried to find fault in the President but the data showed the country has made progress in promoting gender equality.
“Hindi po natin pupuwedeng ipagkait po iyan dahil hindi naman iyan institusyon sa Pilipinas so ihiwalay po natin iyong pula ng mga taong walang ginagawa kung hindi pumula nang pumula sa katotohanan (We cannot deny that because that’s not an institution in the Philippines so let’s separate the criticisms made by those who do nothing but criticize from the truth),” he said.
“At ito pong report ng World Economic Forum patunay po, tinataguyod natin ang karapatan ng kababaihan at pinakamagaling po tayo sa Asya pagdating dito (And this World Economic Forum report is proof that we uphold the rights of women and we are in the best in Asia in this regard),” he added.
Apart from closing the gender gap, Roque said the President has signed laws promoting the welfare of women, such as the Republic Act No. 11210 that provides additional leave benefits for working mothers.
Also signed by the President was Republic Act No. 11148 or “Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act” that provides health and nutrition services during the first 1,000 days of life.
In his Women’s Month message, the President has called on Filipinos to help completely free women from the “bondage of inequality,” citing the need to elevate them in their rightful place in society.
He said women should be empowered to break barriers that hold them back as well as the “backward mindset” that fueled the culture of gender oppression and inequality.
The President previously drew criticisms over a string of alleged misogynistic jokes and comments. Last January, he commented that women are not suited for presidency due to the emotional differences with men.
He made the comment as he dismissed rumors that his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio was eyeing the presidency.