President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the awarding of 500 housing units to the personnel of the First Scout Ranger Regiment (FSRR) at the Scout Ranger Ville in San Miguel, Bulacan on December 10, 2018. ALFRED FRIAS/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO
Our president, Rodrigo Duterte, isn’t exactly known for being a role model of women’s rights. So it was kinda surprising to see the Palace release a message on International Women’s Day which vows to create an “enabling environment” for women empowerment.
“This important occasion reminds us all to pave the way for an enabling environment for women to be empowered and to make sure that the Magna Carta for Women is properly implemented at all levels of practices, gaps, and challenges in pursuing gender and development in local government units all over the country,” Duterte said in the statement.
The Magna Carta for Women (RA 9710) “ensures equal rights and opportunities for men and women.” Its provisions include emphasis on women’s rights; allowing the recruitment of training of women in any job position; giving more women the chance to enlist in the military, and giving them special leave privileges.
It’s a law that we need to level the playing field and to stop discrimination of women. It’s great that Duterte has openly declared that he will sign and, hopefully, implement it. However, it’s still pretty hard to believe that he’s turned a new leaf and suddenly became a feminist.
We’re all for Duterte’s support for women’s rights and empowerment, but he needs to practice what he preaches. If he continues being disrespectful to women, regardless if it’s in jest or not, then it’ll just look like he said his message for the sake of celebrating Women’s Month. Empowerment and offering safe spaces for us shouldn’t start and end this month. This promise should’ve started the moment he decided to become president of the Philippines.