Are Filipinos REALLY offended by Duterte’s quip on how to shoot female NPA combatants?

At one level, the remark made by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte about what part of the anatomy state forces should aim for whenever they get a female member of the New People’s Army (NPA) within their sights is deeply offensive. As the Inquirer Editor pointed out today, it is Not Funny. Mr. Editor also further adds an admonistion:

Every Filipino should feel offended.

And, in fact, they should. But the question is, will they?

For us private-school-educated folk and the cliques of social climbers who routinely tap their two cents on matters such as these into their $1500 iPads, the idea that things like these are offensive constitute the stuff we take for granted. As such, we judge the existence (or lack) of outrage in our society through the lens of our gated village upbringing and our expensive up-that-Hill education. More disturbingly, we seek comfort in the false sense that sufficient outrage on the matter exists using our small social media networks where we had, over time, curated every trace of dissenting opinion (to ours) off, as dubious evidence.

The reality is, our social networks do not serve as samples that are soundly representative of the broader Philippine population. For one, the elements of these networks are not randomly-picked (because we consciously or subconsciously curate the information it feeds us). Second, they are not a big enough sample. So any conclusion we draw from what we glean from content we see in our timelines and newsfeeds (a sample set that is skewed and too small) cannot be attributed to the behaviour or sentiments of the broader society at a high enough confidence level.

In short, it is debatable whether Filipinos are truly outraged by what Duterte said (or routinely says) and it is debatable whether what Western media say (or echo from our local media) about the matter actually matters to the average Filipino. Indeed, the fact that Duterte routinely gets away with saying such things does say something about what Filipinos really think and should prompt us to pause, take stock of, and critically evaluate the layers of assumptions we’ve piled upon the foundations of our online rhetoric of just how-deeply embedded in Philippine society Western liberal ideas really are.

Philippine society’s elites may raise big stinks about Duterte’s offensive quips but we need to challenge whether the voice of the elite at the very least resonates with ordinary Filipinos.

A starting point in that journey of inward reflection is to take stock of some facts.

(1) The Philippines is a deeply-religious society and, as such, isn’t as liberal (in the Western sense) as many “thought leaders” would like to believe.

(2) Evidence of outrage over the female NPA quip comes primarily from the social media “politically-passionate” elite and even within this elite, statistics on “trending” topics have not exhibited evidence of significant chatter surrounding this topic.

(3) Efforts from prominent “women’s issues” groups to rally Filipinos to protest this quip had thus far failed to muster the significant enough headcount in rallies to demonstrate widespread indignation.

What remains consistent is Duterte’s remarkable ability to remain popular over almost a year and a half of making deeply-offensive misogynist remarks. Traditional “civil society” and “activist” cliques of liberal-minded Catholic-school-educated elites and the corporate media firms that serve as their powerful megaphones have effectively lost their ability to influence hearts and minds in Philippine society or, at the very least, persuade Filipinos to give a shit.

A popularly-elected Philippine president who can be a misogynist with impunity in a democracy is but a mere symptom of a deeper problem if we consider that, in principle, the character of leaders in a democracy mirror the character of the electorate. Considering these confronting facts and the rather adolescent and evidently ineffectual way revered “thought leaders” go about coming to terms with the behaviour of a popular president, it is high time the Philippine Opposition think up a better and smarter strategy to go about opposing the incumbent and persuading an apathetic Philippine public to understand the offense they ought to feel.

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22 Comments on “Are Filipinos REALLY offended by Duterte’s quip on how to shoot female NPA combatants?”

  1. Media has always shown us highly misogynistic telenovelas, variety shows, noontime shows etc. Media has helped create an electorate that allowed us to elect a misogynistic president. Media should start to reconsider the kind of programming they put on TV.

  2. Fake Philippines Facts. 1. The country is not religious. It has one of the highest teen pregnancy, new STD rates, and single mother rates , and crime rates percentage wise in the entire world in the world. The fact is that behind closed doors is a different Filipino then out in the world in the open. 2. The country is more liberal than most western countries. Recently the child sex industry has grown larger here. The same answer is always accepted for the parents. The family is poor and blame the pedophiles who take advantage of this. I do not know any country in the world where the parents who use the children to make money in the sex industry is not treated worst than the people who take advantage of the parents. Liberal thinking is to excuse the parents. Conservative thinking is that anyone involved should be locked away forever or killed. 3. Fake women right are everywhere in the Philippines. I attend a major private Catholic university here. During orientation a speaker said that rape could be understandable and even the fault of a woman by the clothes the women wears. I question this statement by the speaker and was amazed at how many people defended the speaker including mostly women.

    1. It always makes me laugh when Filipinos call themselves “religious”. I suppose they might be, but the question then is: and exactly which god are you followers of, because from the look of your society, it doesn’t appear to be the one you profess to follow.

      1. The description gets caught in my throat as well but if Sunday mass attendance is an indicator, the assertion is arguably a valid one. That said, it is important to make a distinction between religiosity and spirituality. I believe Filipinos are more of the earlier and less of the latter.

        1. My main gripe is that Filipinos use the words ‘religious’ and ‘Christian’ interchangeably. A good fraction of them seem to think their sole obligation is to show up at Church to pray for forgiveness after they’ve spent the rest of the week thieving, lying, getting their latest girlfriend pregnant, and getting into drunken brawls.

          “Missing the point” doesn’t even begin to cover it.

    2. Filipinos call themselves religious because they want to defer everything to God. They accept misfortunes, poverty, illness, lack of resources or lack of success in personal life and their career as if God wanted all that for them. They have an excuse not to work hard for a better life because its God’s will. Instead of asking God for everything or leaving it all up to Him, Filipinos should start making God proud by working hard and reaching their God-given potential.

    3. I’d call it sanctimony. Filipinos bring pretentiousness and hypocrisy to a unique degree. First, they go to church to make a show of being religious. When they go out, they do bad things, and they either justify their acts with their religion or disregard it altogether. It’s a classic demonstration of form over substance. Filipinos either don’t understand or refuse to accept that being truly religious comes with responsibility. They’d do anything to escape that, and attend to the highest order of needs for them, which is creature comforts.

    4. YOU ARE SO CORRECT! It is mind boggling to the core. I mean MIND BOGGLING. Just not the brightest bulb on the tree in a long shot.
      🙁

  3. There’s also the fact that Gabriela is a communist legal front to extort companies, demand donations, and attack politicians for their benefit, also consider the current Winter Olympics, Olympic viewership is down for the last decade since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, you got the Western liberal media and liberal US athletes politicizing the Olympics for their benefit, they aren’t representing their country, they are representing their political views, and out of spite against the current administration that they are cheering and helping the North Korean dictatorship look good and also making it all about gay and lesbian athlete identity politics nonsense while ignoring that North Korea still has several US citizens as prisoners there, just like the CHR here, US athletes consider their own president a bigger dictator than the slave state of North Korea out of spite, that’s how petty and disgusting these Filipino “Feminists” are, they were pretty quiet when news broke out of four OFW helpers killed and one was found inside a freezer, they didn’t cheer one bit when Duterte put his foot down and said “No more”, so spiteful virtue-signalling filipino feminist-commies.

  4. I dont find it offensive. A terrorist is a terrorist. I’d even recommend shooting a kid, as long as he/she’s got a live firearm in his/her hands. There are no girls in a war, only combatants.

    1. Whether or not you or anyone finds it offensive doesn’t matter. If you’re fighting someone you shoot them where it puts them down fastest. Isn’t it going too far to purposely mutilate an enemy combatant for no good reason?
      >A terrorist is a terrorist.
      I’m not saying you shouldn’t oppose them, but they are human beings too, just like you. If your soldiers capture a child soldier, would it be a good idea to cut off their hands before you release them so that they can’t hold guns anymore? If you subscribe to the narrow idea that “a terrorist is a terrorist” then mutilating brainwashed kids is probably fine to you.

  5. First of all, why are those rallying females, covering their faces ? They are afraid of themselves and afraid of the government ?

    If our troops, are commanded by Pres. Duterte to aim and shot at the NPAs’ female soldiers private parts. It is one of the strategies in warfare. Aim at the enemies private parts and shoot !

    This strategy came from the Nazi Germany’s Army in World War II. There was a Nazi German exploding mine, whereby, if you step into it; the mine will first blow off, exactly on the level of the target’s private part and explode there. It sowed fear to the Allied liberating army. Imagine, you survived with your dear private parts gone ? What is the use of living then ?

    The Philippines may be a Roman Catholic Church country, but , I do not see that most of the church goers, are practicing what the Roman Catholic Church is preaching. Just look at our leaders. They are mostly church goers on Sunday, but on Monday to Saturday: they do their evil things. All kinds of evil. Their act of religiosity is to attract voters, only. There are also pedophile priests and bishops with many mistresses, in the Roman Catholic Church .

    Being outraged on such Pres. Duterte’s comment is stupid. All is fair in love, as in war. So, ladies, if you don’t want your dear private parts to be shot at, don’t join the New Peoples’ Army. Besides, you are just wasting your lives fighting for a lost cause. Raise children, who will become good citizens. It would be better.

  6. I don’t know about others, but I cringe every time one of our politicians opens their mouth – what embarrassing, but potentially hugely damaging and thoughtless statement is coming next. Anything said to our national press obviously becomes international news, and the international community doesn’t care much about the fine details as we understand them.

    For example, Yolanda, horrendous of course, but just certain areas bore the full brunt, martial law is imposed in a limited area, the war on drugs, Boracay is a cesspool, etc, etc. Internationally these news items are interpreted as The Philippines as a whole – Yolanda virtually destroyed the country, which is in a desperate state of martial law with street killings visible by the day/hour, and generally the country is a filthy dirty lawless mess. And then our tourism industry says ‘it’s more fun in The Philippines’ – hard to convince anyone of that right now don’t you think. And boy, do we need the tourist/overseas money.

    Surely we can manage the way we show ourselves to the wider world, deal with the majority of our problems quietly or at least with a positive spin. Example, instead of ‘Boracay is a cesspool that’s so bad we’re going to shut it down’, how about putting out that we’re investing in improving our national treasure, and so on – whatever works. Otherwise the biggest enemy of our nation is still ourselves, as always…

  7. “A popularly-elected Philippine president who can be a misogynist with impunity in a democracy is but a mere symptom of a deeper problem if we consider that, in principle, the character of leaders in a democracy mirror the character of the electorate.”

    But the problem is what is the deeper problem? Is being popular right now the New Right and Politically Correct? I see most GRP commenters here find the President’s mouthing irregularities as being okay and just fine. They rather see those who do not as being pretentious and hypocritical (does this mean, in principle, that the misogynist character of the President also mirror the character of these GRP commenters in a balasubas society?!). Should we, as people, just selectively allow the good but ignore the discrepancies of somebody because he his popular (also due to the bandwagoning majority identifying with his popularity being greater in number) or should that someone popular also ought to hear about the displeasure of the rest (irregardless whether he gives a shit or not)? How long can people be consistently true being as cheerleaders with their issues regarding our popular leaders? Will their position be still the same if ain’t no longer Mr. Duterte?

    Manny Pacquiao was bashed for comparing homosexuals to animals: “animals don’t have homosexual relations — and that people who do are worse than animals” while Tito Sotto was criticized for his “naano lang” remark. And several years back, many were angered by the late Raul Manglapus, who was quoted as saying this: “If rape is inevitable, just lie back and enjoy it.”

    But for the inconsistent and hyphocritical VACC (captured in a youtube video), in contrast, laughed and applauded Duterte’s controversial rape joke about a rape and murder of Jacqueline Hamill in 1989: “she was so beautiful, the mayor should have been first.”

    So we can only wonder about the (in)consistency of those who where angered by then and are now fans of the popular Mr. Duterte.

    1. The time you consider Duterte as “Mr. Duterte” makes me feel that you’re very inconsistent and at the same time, shady, in your ranting

      If it’s someone else who’s in Malacanang, you would refer him/her as “President”. And still, Political Correctness is still dominated by the Left so you’re just grasping on straws here.

      1. What made you feel of another’s reference of “Mr. Duterte” (quite obviously, to the President) “very inconsistent and at the same time, shady” (even seeing it as a rant?!) when you just choose to consider calling the Philippine President only and simply with a seemingly irreverent “Duterte”? Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?

        1. Because most of the previous Presidents before were preferred as ‘President’ or ‘Mr. President’ by some people from the mainstream media. But most of his detractors, especially from the Opposition, would refer him as ‘Mr. Duterte’ as if they don’t want to acknowledge him as an executive leader.

          The irony is that either you’re just missing the point… or you’re just want to seek attention.

        2. The hardest part of assuming that one is an intellectual is their inability to back down and admit mistakes. Self-proclaimed intellectual poseurs oftentimes project their assumed infallibility. Rather than to learn some things from others, they would rather depend anything and everything theirs, even at some point when they are just grasping at straws!

          Humility, my dear friend, is an excellent virtue! It defines us also of who we are alongside being intellectually-gifted!

    2. It’s not a matter of ignoring Duterte’s faults or being inconsistent. Some just choose to focus on what he’s able to deliver. It’s time and attention management, really. He gives the reality check that Filipinos need. Neoliberal issues are not a concern to the ordinary Pinoy who’s just trying to survive at this point.

    3. Some people here do not understand or choose to let it pass and/or ignore that President Duterte, like the rest of us, isn’t perfect. He may be a progressive leader who has political will for change but the problem is when the personality-cult based hero-worship of Duterte the rockstar/superstar sets in for The Fantards, critical thinking stops…then they start seeing everyone, who differs, as The Enemy.

      The truth of the matter is when some of these GRP commenters/cheerleaders start getting adversarial they have become no longer different from the Yellowtards they despise for they end up being like them…as Dutertards!

  8. This is article is brilliant, and I mean BRILLIANT. It is a fantastic assessment of the true heart of the matter, I myself and said something similar a million of times, but of course only in private and to my Filipina wife. Of course I can’t comment as a “foreigner” but as a student of history, a student of psychology even Stevie Wonder can see the truth in everything presented in this article. This is the reason why this President with is foul mouth “common folk” ways is so popular. Most Filipinos are more RELIGIOUS THAN EDUCATED. That is not a put-down but an observation. (Of course I know when it come to Filipinos they will be “but-hurt no matter how I say it)

    I personally feel no hope for Filipinos. Beautiful place to live, “nice people” but when it comes to these kinds of issues NOT very enlightened, collectively and it would appear they have no desire or intention on being so. Still a lovely beautiful country but not for the progressive minded or the enlightened….beyond a religious scope.

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