President Rodrigo Duterte ( file photo)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines—On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, President Rodrigo Duterte recognized women’s heroism.

“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. Indeed, women are heroes,” Duterte said in a statement Wednesday.

He said the world can look up to women “for their creativity and imagination, for their courage and boldness, for their sacrifice and charity.”

He cited the Philippines high ranking in terms of gender equality in the Asia Pacific region and in the world.

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.

Duterte also vowed that the government “shall strive to maintain this distinction as well as continue to recognize their invaluable contributions in sport, science, governance, education, public service and the arts.”

However, more still needs to be done as militant women’s group Gabriela reminded the President of his unfulfilled promises.

“The International Working Women’s Day is a day of reckoning between President Duterte and the poor, deprived and oppressed women and children who pinned their hopes on his promises for land, jobs, justice and peace,” said GABRIELA secretary general Joms Salvador.

“The women workers, peasants, students, migrants, and poor settlers remain in crisis after the president has broken many pledges for the poor and instead has grown to favor the destructive neoliberal policies of the past regimes,” Salvador said.

“After nine months of stalling on basic reforms to end job contractualization, broker a peace deal to address the roots of armed conflict, and dismantle foreign military meddling by the United States, Duterte’s constant boasts of being a socialist is starting to sound hollow. A true Socialist would have put the welfare of workers, peasants and the most oppressed sectors of society to the fore,” Salvador said.

The women’s group also reminded Duterte that he should address the roots of poverty, social violence and drug problems by restarting the stalled talks with the National Democratic Front.

She said their patience over the President’s empty promises are “wearing dangerously thin.”

Salvador also scored Duterte’s failing record on human rights violations, as extrajudicial killings against political activists and indigenous communities rise on top of massive gangland-style rub-outs of suspected drug runners and petty offenders.

In his speech at Malacañang Tuesday, Duterte reiterated that his campaign against anti-illegal drugs will push through and said he is ready to go to prison “for the right reason.”

“I am ready to go to jail for the right reason. Walang question yan, ako ang nag-utos. Go out and hunt for them,” he said before the launching of the Department of Agriculture’s various programs. The President has also declared that he is open for the resumption of talks last week. (

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