President Rodrigo Duterte came under fire after ordering soldiers to shoot female communist rebels in the vagina.
The statement was made during a dinner in the company of 217 former communist rebels in Malacañang last Wednesday night, Feb. 7, where it prompted laughter from the audience. President Duterte was found repeatedly mentioning the word “bisong” to his guests, which translates to “vagina” in Bisaya, according to an INQUIRER report today.
President Duterte’s comment was met with criticisms from personalities and netizens who took to social media to air their grievances, with musician and activist Jim Paredes being one who refused to mince words.
"You have no shame. You have no respect for women. Hey, you have a mother, a wife, a mistress and a daughter — they are women!"
Paredes followed his tweet with another, wondering out loud what kind of people laugh over Duterte’s remarks. “What kind of people laugh when Duterte says that soldiers should shoot woman rebels in the vagina?” wrote Paredes. “How come no official, not even congresswoman and women senators has spoken against this crude remark?”
The New York Times correspondent and human rights activist Carlos Conde meanwhile said President Duterte is out-trumping Trump, whereas editor and writer Joel Pablo Salud commented that the President “has little respect for women and absolutely no respect for the military.”
‘We have been reduced to our genitalia’
Journalist Mags Z. Maglana, on the other hand, shared a screenshot of the INQUIRER’s Twitter report, giving her own piece of mind in her Facebook account.
“Wrong on so many levels. From a leader hailed and defended as having championed women’s rights and a deep understanding of why a revolution is still raging,” wrote Maglana. “And the embarrassing response of an audience that supposedly once took part in the revolutionary movement. We have been reduced to our genitalia.”
Netizens were quick to respond to Maglana, with one Maita Arreola saying that President Duterte’s pro-women claims are fake.
“Peke ang pro-women claims niya sa Tutoo talaga ay mababa ang pagtingin nya sa mga babae at consistent siya dito.”
Another commenter, Sharifa Ali-Dans, expressed that it is tragic to hear such statements coming from a leader, but finds the audience’s response even more tragic.
Award-winning writer and professor Jhoanna Cruz on her part pointed out that there was nothing out of character with what President Duterte did, while also saying that the statement might be mistaken again for “Bisaya humor.” One Rufa Cagoco-Guiam responded to Cruz, telling her that there was nothing “Bisaya” about what President Duterte did.
“No, Jhoanna Cruz; I am pure blooded Bisdak, and I don’t make those kinds of joke; it is not a ‘Bisaya’ trait; it is just his!” Cagoco-Guiam wrote. “Nakakahiya sa (It is a shame to) millions of Bisaya who are upright, both in words and in deeds! And also in their thoughts.”
'The epitome of misogyny and fascism terribly rolled in one'
Gabriela Women’s Party fully denounced the words of President Duterte in a statement posted on their official Facebook page, where they referred to the president as a “macho-fascist” over his “shoot in the vagina” remark.
“Duterte latest nasty remark openly encourages violence against women, contributes to the impunity on such, and further confirms himself as the most dangerous macho-fascist in the government right now,” said Gabriela Rep. Emmi de Jesus. “He has further presented himself as the epitome of misogyny and fascism terribly rolled in one.”
In the end, Rep. De Jesus said that “Duterte and his minions” should expect more women to speak and reject his style of macho-fascist leadership: “We cannot just take these vile remarks sitting down.”