Robredo to Duterte: Women-led nations had the best COVID responses

By Glee Jalea, CNN Philippines

For Vice President Leni Robredo, women who led other countries have shown that they can get the job done.

In her radio show Biserbisyong Leni on Sunday, Robredo refuted the remark of President Rodrigo Duterte that women are not fit for the presidency.

“Unang una, alam natin kung ano iyong pagtingin ni Pangulo sa mga kababaihan. At hindi tayo sang-ayon doon. At napakababa ng pagtingin sa mga kababaihan kaya nga nangyayari itong mga sinasabi niya,” Robredo said, before noting that female chief executives have fared better when responding to the pandemic.

[Translation: First of all, we already know what the President thinks of women, and we do not agree to that. And he has always underestimated them, that’s why he can say things like this.

“Pangalawa, napapaligiran tayo sa buong mundo ng mga babaeng napakahuhusay na chief executives. In fact, during the pandemic, iyong mga best performing na mga bansa ay led by women…” she said. “Pero sa akin, may epekto ito sa laban natin sa gender equality, sa rights of women na matagal na natin itong pinaglalaban.”

[Translation: Second, the world is filled with women who make excellent chief executives. In fact, during the pandemic, the best performing countries were led by women. For me, this has an effect on our fights against gender equality, and women’s rights that we have long been fighting for.]

Robredo also called on Duterte to be more “circumspect” with his remarks, noting that cautioning his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and other women leaders will only leave an unnecessary mark on those who wish to participate in the government.

“Dapat sana responsibility niya din na maging circumspect sa sinasabi kasi Pangulo siya, hindi lang siya ordinaryong tao na iyong mga nakakarinig lang iyong apektado…hindi lang ito kay Mayor Sara o sa akin, o sino pang mga kilalang women leaders, pero sa lahat ng mga kababaihang Pilipina, may epekto iyong mababang pagtingin ng Pangulo.”

[Translation: It is his responsibility to be circumspect, because he is the President, he is not just an ordinary person who will only affect those who listen to him…such remark does not only apply to Mayor Sara or me, or other women leaders, but also all Filipino women, his lowly perception only leaves a mark.]

In his speech last Thursday, Duterte stressed that he has been discouraging his daughter from succeeding his post, noting that “the presidency is not a woman’s job.”

“The emotional setup of a woman and a man is totally different. Maging g*go ka dito (You will be foolish here). That’s the sad story,” he added.

This is not the first time Duterte discouraged his daughter from gunning for the presidency. He told Sara last year that she should let go any plans of running unless she believes she can improve everyone’s lives.

Duterte also warned that he has a mouthful to say against Robredo, should she decide to gun for the presidency in 2022.

The Philippines only had two female presidents in history: Corazon Aquino and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden were among those who were previously lauded for their early intervention measures that controlled the transmission of COVID-19 in their respective countries.

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