Press Release
June 30, 2017


"The first year of the Duterte government is a dangerous year to be a woman. It is marked by a colossal human rights crisis. It is the year of misogyny and extrajudicial killings. It is a year of national grieving."

This was the statement issued on Tuesday by Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros regarding President Rodrigo Duterte's first year in office.

"A grade of 8-12 thousand"

In a women forum at the Ateneo De Manila University, Hontiveros also said that if she was to grade the performance of Duterte's first year in office, the Senator said that she will give the President a grade of 8-12 thousand. "That is the number of people killed, based on the tallies of government and human rights groups, under his bloody war on drugs," she said.

"Day of Remembrance"

Hontiveros also said that Duterte's first year in office should be a "day of remembrance" for the victims of extrajudicial killings. The Senator made the appeal one year since the government launched its bloody war on drugs.

"Even as the government downplays this colossal human rights crisis and in some cases, even denies the very existence of these killings, we need to remember. We must never forget or dismiss this sanctioned and deliberate crime against the people. The act of remembering is a revolutionary and courageous act. To forget is an assault upon truth. To forget is to erase our humanity. Our collective failure to remember is to kill again," Hontiveros said.

"Profound, palpable hatred of women"

Hontiveros, who is also Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women, said that there has been a surge in the culture of sexism and impunity that has marked the character of the Duterte government. She observed that there is a "profound, palpable hatred and persecution of women leaders who dare stand up to the blatant disregard for human life."

The Senator also mentioned Duterte's trivialization of rape, reference of women public leaders to body parts, catcalling a female reporter and justifying it as freedom of expression and as a compliment, the distasteful reality of gender-based online harassment, and slut-shaming, and fake news as weapons to stifle political dissent and lie to the public, as primary examples of the growing misogynist culture under the present government.

"More progressive women in politics"

Hontiveros said that there is a strong need for more "progressive women" in politics as a "first in a long line of steps" to curb what she described as "the now emboldened trend of violent language, the falsehoods and the unthinking acceptance of authority that is the poison of every democracy."

"They can shame us with rape jokes, barrage us with fake news and threaten us with trumped up charges and even incarceration, but we will not relent. We will continue to resist. We need more progressive women to fight because if some men are too afraid to stand up for human dignity, then, it will be the courage of women that will take up the torch, beat the drum, and lead the way," Hontiveros concluded.

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