President Duterte made more Filipino women vulnerable to abuse–women’s group says

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Militant women’s group GABRIELA Women’s Party on Sunday raised an alarm over the spike in cases of violence against women in the country from 2018 to 2019  “against the backdrop of President Rodrigo Duterte’s dirty mouth and influx of dirty money to the country.”

“President Rodrigo Duterte’s brand of unrepentant misogyny and his passivity over the illicit dirty money flows to the country have increasingly made Filipino women vulnerable to sexual abuse and other crimes,” said GABRIELA  Rep. Arlene Brosas, in a statement during the International Women’s Day celebration.

Based on estimates, some US$633 million slipped into the country and was mostly channeled to Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), which have been linked to the rise of Chinese prostitution rings, in just a span of six months.

“What is worrisome is that along with the influx of dirty money and the institutionalized misogyny, the number female victims of human trafficking spiked by 66.7 percent from 252 in 2018 to 420 in 2019. Rape cases rose by 30 percent during the same period,” said Brosas, citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

In a span of one year, Duterte made sexist remarks in several public venues including during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) wherein he remarked about “Boracay girls” and his “smelly girlfriend.”

In the aftermath of Taal volcano eruption, the chief executive joked about forgetting all his problems when he thought about Batangas’ beautiful women.

“With such record of indulging in his sick, sexist antics, it then comes as no surprise why the President has never made any condemnation of the proliferation of sex rings linked to POGOs in the country. This has to change. We need to stop dirty money from coming to our shores and shut down POGOs all at once,” Brosas said.

GABRIELA  Women’s Party has filed a House resolution seeking to probe the proliferation of Chinese sex dens, which victimize trafficked women and which cater to POGO workers.

As regards the local transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), GABRIELA  Women’s Party said the Duterte administration has greatly placed Filipino women and people at risk of dying a “dirty death” with its very belated ban on flights from China and the privatization of healthcare.

“The fact that we are facing a national public health emergency starkly belies the blanket assurances made by the President and DOH (Department of Health)  a few weeks ago. Worse, government support for COVID-19 testing and screening has been close to miniscule due to the gross neglect of public hospitals and paltry budget for disease surveillance,” said former GABRIELA  Rep. Emmi de Jesus.

“Dapat na agarang tiyakin ang libre at malaganap na COVID-19 screening sa lahat ng mamamayan. Kongkreto dapat ang gawing tugon ng gobyernong Duterte sa halip na paulit-ulit na sabihing wag magpanic,” said De Jesus./Stacy Ang

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