Women leaders marched this morning from the Film Center to the Philippine Senate. Wearing purple, the women held a program in front of the Senate Building, strongly condemning the latest degrading remark of Senator Tito Sotto against single mothers.
The group also called on the Senate Ethics Committee to subject the conduct of the senator to an investigation on the basis of the Magna Carta of Women and other laws.
Judy Miranda, Secretary General of Partido Manggagawa (PM), said that workers’ taxes pay for Sotto’s salaries. “He should be taken off Senate’s payroll for his gross disrespect for women’s rights,” according to Miranda.
“Senator Sotto has historically disparaged women, with his anti-Reproductive Health stance, victim-blaming an abused woman in his show Eat Bulaga with “kababae mong tao, pa-shot-shot ka pa,” and most recently by referring to single mothers as “na-ano” lang,” said Jean Enriquez, Philippine Coordinator of the World March of Women. Enriquez added that she herself was a single mother for a long time, forced by the fact that she was a victim of domestic violence.
“Many women are also raising children by themselves because of the patriarchal culture, wherein women are left pregnant by men who do not take responsibility for the consequences of their sexual conduct,” said Mary Jane Labongray, a young woman leader of SENTRO. “One out of 10 teenage girls are already mothers,” added Labongray.
“There are many reasons that push women to a situation of single motherhood, arising from a situation of unequal situation between women and men, including the sexual objectification of women,” said Meth Jimenez of SARILAYA.
“It was the culture of misogyny among our politicians speaking through the Senator’s remark and the ensuing laughter heard from the other senators,” said Clarissa Militante of Focus on the Global South. “This culture of misogyny became worse by the words and practice of the President himself,” added Militante. The apology which was justified as street language by Senator Sotto, was a non-apology, according to the group.
The women also included leaders from Ina ng Bayan sa Sais and SPELL.