Rodrigo Duterte gestures during Change of Command ceremonies of the Armed Forces of the Philippines at Camp Aguinaldo in Manila. File photo/ AFP
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, whose rape jokes have sparked outrage in the past, drew fresh flak on Tuesday after signing a law against sexual harassment, with campaigners saying his role as the “misogynist-in-chief” would make implementation challenging.
Duterte, who has himself been accused of sexual harassment on multiple occasions, signed the law that prohibits behaviour such as catcalling and sexist slurs in April, according to the text released on Monday.
The 74-year-old was “the single most brazen violator of the law’s intent with his staple macho-fascist remarks,” women’s rights political party Gabriela said on Twitter.
“Under this context, implementing the law will certainly be a challenge.”
The law imposes fines and, in some cases, prison sentences for sexual harassment in streets, schools and offices, including wolf-whistling, groping, misogynistic slurs, as well as uninvited comments or gestures referring to a person’s appearance.
Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros, the law’s author, welcomed its passage saying it would plug gaps in previous legislation against sexual harassment but added it was “only as good as how it is implemented.”
Duterte has stirred controversy in the past over his treatment of women. In 2016 he wolf-whistled at a female journalist during a nationally televised news conference, while last year he kissed a Filipina woman onstage during a visit to South Korea in a move that prompted accusations of abuse of power.
He also provoked fury in 2016 when he said he had wanted to rape a “beautiful” Australian missionary who had been murdered in a Philippine prison riot.
Referring to Duterte as “the misogynist-in-chief,” journalist and campaigner Inday Espina-Varona said that while the law was “long overdue, his signing it only rams home the truth: he believes himself above the law.”
The head of a Philippine online news site, among media agencies deemed critical of President Rodrigo Duterte, was arrested again on Friday, this time over an alleged investment violation.
President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte on Tuesday urged the Filipino people to draw inspiration from the country’s “brave forefathers” who defended the liberty and democracy that they are now enjoying.
China has rejected Philippine allegations that a Chinese fishing vessel abandoned 22 Filipinos after it sank their boat in the South China Sea, as pressure builds on President Rodrigo Duterte to take a tougher line.
The UAE hired 440 local teachers, brought 17 teachers from Egypt, and inaugurated the Ataya School and two laboratories. It also printed 227,000 textbooks. The UAE also established the Socotra University and opened two colleges.
Overseas Filipino workers are allowed to return under the Philippine repatriation programme, but they will be isolated for 14 days upon arrival.
According to the government, 37,291 people were discharged from hospitals and health centres in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of cured to 30,781,263 till date as the virus continued to infect less than one lakh people over the last 53 days.