Women React To President Duterte's SONA 2019

He talked about various projects, accomplishments, issues, and threw in more than a few misogynistic remarks!
PHOTO: ATHIT PERAWONGMETHA/AFP/Getty Images

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is always in the news, and not just because he's the president. He says and does many things that are pretty controversial.

On July 22, the President's State of the Nation Address (SONA) ran for one hour and 33 minutes, and he said a lot of things about various projects, accomplishments, and issues. (He also made more than a few misogynistic remarks!) We asked four women on what they thought of the speech.

Din Real Bautista, 33

Homemaker, Recruiter, Writer

I liked it when the president said that we should assert ourselves. We really should stand up for what is right, do something about it, and not just dwell and rant. His SONA is no different from the others: full of motherhood statements, promises, accomplishments, and ad-libs. Actually, I find this one not so appealing, very general, and I feel some issues are not properly addressed.

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What I hold on to is the vision of a better Philippines. I can always look at the problems and negativity this administration brings, but will it solve anything? No. So I am choosing my battles. I don't like it when he cusses, when he "jokes." It is really inappropriate, but does it make my life miserable? No. As long as his political will is still there and he gets the job done, he's not proven guilty of corruption, and does not sell us to other countries, then I am good.

Christine Santos, 33

Freelance Writer

The President made it very clear that he rules the country and the Palace with an iron fist. He proudly declared that he's the only president to still beat up his employees. And he remains incredibly, suspiciously patient with China infringing on our territory and rights.

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I hoped he would talk about the "Bawal Bastos" Law—it might have been funny to see him talk about it. He was lying about not having any rich friends and not liking being around them. He was lying about fighting corruption and protecting the country. He was lying about how the lack of ROTC training would lead kids to do drugs and die. So what's one more joke?

There were problematic statements, troubling statements, and outright lies. But as far as offensive statements [go], there was the misogyny, most of all. And the violence in his words. The death threats mentioned as jokes. Duterte's entire existence is offensive to me.

Ina Avellana Cosio, 41

Researcher, Writer

Duterte really did not discuss anything about the "Bawal Bastos" Law. It seems his being bastos is second nature in the semiotics of his whole SONA 2019. I was hoping he would talk more clearly about the West Philippine Sea.

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And then he said that due to the recent water outage, he was "afraid" to return to Metro Manila from his hometown in Davao "because what if my girlfriend will not be able to take a bath?"

"She will smell like hell so I said I'll wait for the water to wash her. Alam mo kung hindi ako nagmura (you know, if I did not curse)—when I arrived in the morning, there was water and my girlfriend was fresh," he added. This statement is very gross and embarrassing for any woman at any age!

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Shaira Panela, 29

Science Journalist

For me, the most important thing he said was that we should have a science-based land use act. Finally, someone said that we need empirical evidence to run our country better!

I hoped he would talk about human rights, but it's proven difficult to ask the President about it.

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I found it offensive that people were laughing when he made jokes about his partner not smelling fresh during the water crisis that happened a few months ago. Another thing I found offensive was that he cited a psychic when referring to the "Big One," using this for his call to pass of Disaster Resilience Law. That's ironic because he asked for a "science-based" land use law!

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