PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte extolled the sacrifices and contributions of Filipino women in society in his message for the celebration of International Women’s Day on Wednesday.
“The entire world can look up to women — for their creativity and imagination, for their courage and boldness, for their self-sacrifice and charity,” Duterte said.
“Generations have been witness to the amazing ways by which women have transformed societies by playing the role of mothers, workers, intellectuals, educators, caregivers soldiers, activists, artists and leaders,” he said.
The President said International Women’s Day is a way of appreciating women’s collective efforts to push social, economic, cultural and political reforms in defense of their rights.
He said his administration would exert efforts to ensure women have the same rights as men in the Philippines, which serves as “a fertile ground for outstanding women in various sectors.”
“The Philippines ranks high in the Asia Pacific region and in the world in terms of gender equality. My administration shall strive to maintain this distinction as well as to continue to recognize their invaluable contributions is sports, science, governance, education, public service and the arts,” Duterte said.
Celebrated annually every March 8, the International Women’s Day commemorates the struggle for women’s rights.
This year’s theme is “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030: Set It Up For Gender Equality,” which emphasized the commitment of the government to aid women in reaching their full potential.
‘Partner of men for change’
Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said women should be partners of men in the country’s battle for change.
Taguiwalo said women should also have a role in the implementation of the Magna Carta of Women from the national level of government down to the barangay (village).
The inclusion of women in decision-making and implementation is to ensure that women are “partners of men for change in the pursuit of the country’s economic, social, cultural and political developments.”
“The DSWD has been a staunch advocate of women’s rights protection and empowerment. We support every initiative that provides better protection to women and that gives them more opportunities to function better in our society and contribute more to the country’s development,” Taguiwalo said.
Gabriela party-list and other women’s groups and communities converged at the Bonifacio Shrine and Mendiola bridge in Manila to celebrate International Women’s Day.
The marchers urged Duterte to act on pressing issues of job security, land distribution, justice and peace.
Joms Salvador, Gabriela secretary general, said Duterte has been in power for nine months but has yet to make clear moves to address issues such as contractualization, low wages, and the provision of free social services and education.
Moreover, the promises made by the President during the 2016 election campaign such as the implementation of the reproductive health have yet to be fulfilled, the group said.
The groups later marched towards Mendiola Bridge to unveil a paper-mache replica of the President to symbolize the inaction of the administration on its promise of “change.”
WITH A REPORT FROM NELSON S. BADILLA AND KENNETH HERNANDEZ