MANILA (Mabuhay) – A women’s rights advocate and former lawmaker urged President-elect Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday to “keep his feet and ears on the ground” at all times so he will become more sensitive about women’s issues.
Despite criticisms about his view of and attitude towards women, former Gabriela party-list Rep. Liza Maza believes Duterte will lend an ear to their concerns because he is known to be open to receiving advice.
“President Duterte is a listening President. Hindi niya magagawa ang kanyang campaign platform na naka-engganyo sa mahigit 16 million voters kundi siya nakinig. Ang tingin namin ay magiging mainam para sa kanya na makinig rin sa kalahati ng ating populasyon,” she said in reference to women.
Asked what advice her group would give Duterte to correct criticism that he is disrespectful of women, Maza said: “Ang practical advice namin kay President-elect Duterte would be to keep his feet and ears on the ground at all times kasi alam naman natin na ang kababaihan, one-half ‘yan ng population.”
Duterte has drawn flak for catcalling a female reporter in a press conference last May. In his defense, the President-elect said he was only exercising his freedom of expression.
He added that he did not find his action to be a violation of the landmark Women Development Code of Davao City, which he signed.
Joms Salvador, Gabriela Women’s Alliance Secretary General, said their organization would be relentless in reminding Duterte about respecting women’s rights even if it supports most of his plans for the country.
“Ang Gabriela ay hindi magkukulang sa paalala kay President-elect Duterte at sinumang nasa posisyon na may malaking responsibilidad sa kanilang mga balikat na magpakita ng respeto sa mga kababaihan,” she said.
The Gabriela Women’s party-list and affiliated groups will gather in Davao City Thursday for a national women’s summit aimed at crafting a reform agenda for the incoming Duterte administration.
Gabriela party-list Rep. Emmi de Jesus said an invitation has been sent to Duterte but there has been no word yet regarding his attendance.
Salvador said the summit will feature discussions and workshops where women leaders will discuss issues pertaining to the following topics, which are represented by letters in the word “change.”
C- Comprehensive social services
H- Human rights, peace and social justice
A- Anti-discrimination and violence against women
N- National sovereignty
G- Genuine land reform and national industrialization
E- Environmental protection
At the end of the summit, recommendations on short- and medium-term solutions for women’s concerns will be presented and submitted to Duterte for his action.(MNS)