A couple of days ago, President Rodrigo Duterte kisses an overseas foreign worker at a press conference in Korea.

His administration’s spin excuses his behavior stating, “Malacañang sees nothing wrong with President Rodrigo Duterte kissing a married overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in Seoul, saying it is ‘very [much] accepted in the culture of Filipinos.'”

The problem with this statement and Duterte’s action(s) against women is that he normalizes Filipino misogyny and patriarchy. When a whole administration covers for a president’s sexist buffoonery and machismo, it condones a whole host of other abuses against women. (Ahem, sounds like everything that a certain “pussy-grabber” does.)

In a macho-fascist state under Duterte, then, an ombudsman prosecutor named, Madonna Joy Ednaco-Tayag, dies in broad daylight, stabbed to death under the cover of the “war on drugs”. She was 5 months pregnant. She was a government employee. She was a fighter for the people investigating graft and corruption. She is slain, her unborn baby is slain, emboldened by the “kisses” of death blesses by Duterte.

Under Duterte, normalizing Filipino patriarchy and misogyny means women’s lives are devalued, consumable and disposable. So as debates go on about how “acceptable” it is for Filipino men to kiss strangers. We must understand these ridiculous excuses for a sexist and misogynistic president as a part of his impunity and tyranny. Women in the Philippines and in the Filipino diaspora have spoken loud and clear, #BabaeAko #LalabanAko!

Image description: Collage of Filipina scholars in the US sand Canada for #BabaeAko

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