You Will Get Angry at Duterte’s Catcalling Because of This

Case Studies

Where to start? Let’s start at the most recent.

Case Study 1: Rodrigo Duterte’s Catcalling

The Philippine’s presumptive president, Rodrigo Duterte, is not a stranger to controversies and criticisms. Since winning the presidential seat, the news about Duterte drawing flaks and ires has been amplified. And the most recent is his catcalling to a member of the press (Mariz Umali) during his press conference.

If you search the news for “duterte catcalling,” this would be the top search results.


The interesting thing about this incident is that it spawned several related news that contains more sensationalism rather than facts. The proof is in the title of the headlines where the use of words such as “scores,” “broke” and “dismayed.” Out of these news articles, only this article stands to say why the incident is wrongful:


In Duterte’s hometown, catcalling is illegal

Published June 2, 2016 6:58pm
President-elect Rodrigo Duterte drew flak this week after giving a reporter a wolf-whistle during his press conference on Tuesday in Davao City.

Curiously, his hometown has taken the lead in working against catcalling in public, a punishable offense under “The Women Development Code of Davao City” or City Ordinance No. 5004.

Duterte created the working group to draft the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Code in 1997. The 44-page IRR was approved by his successor Benjamin de Guzman the following year.

Under the Code, sexual harassment is defined as “a form of misconduct involving an act or a series of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature, made directly, indirectly or impliedly.”

Among the forms of sexual harassment listed under Section 8 of the Code is “making offensive hand or body gestures at someone.”

The law also defines as harassment “cursing, whistling or calling a woman in public with words having dirty connotations or implications which tend to ridicule, humiliate or embarrass the woman such as puta, boring, peste, etc.”

Under Republic Act 9262 or the “Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004,” sexual harassment is considered sexual violence.

The local government of Davao City pledges support for women survivors of sexual violence. The Women’s Code of the city mandates an immediate conduct of an investigation within 24 hours after the incident. The Code also provides for counseling and medical services for the offended party.

“Women victims-survivors of all forms of violence shall be registered in a community-based  psychological  program  that  shall  assist  the  women  in  holistically  re-building and empowering themselves,” the Code states.

“All investigations/hearing involving  rape  cases  and  other  forms  of  violence  against  women  conducted  in  the  police  stations,  prosecutor’s  office  and  the  trial  courts  shall  recognize, the survivor’s social support group as expressly allowed or requested by the offended party,” it adds.

Duterte made the wolf-whistle toward GMA News anchor and reporter Mariz Umali.

Umali recounted: “I just told him na ‘Sir, I’m here’ in the middle of my question para hindi ko na siya hayaan pang maghanap kung nasaan yung boses na nanggagaling. Doon na niya sinagot na parang napapansin daw ako tapos sumipol na and then later on kumanta.”

When asked about the incident on “News To Go” on Thursday, Umali said she was committed to being professional.

“It may have been improper from a president-elect but, of course, we will continue to do our job and we are not expecting any apology from him personally,” she said. —JST, GMA News

Women have this logic — often coined by men as “Women Logic” —  that depicts their gender as walking contradiction, with such examples as:

  • Saying “No” when she means “Yes;”
  • Plucking eyebrows just to draw them back on;
  • Dreaming of being cheated on and getting mad at her partner when she wakes up;

In this incident, it would be the case where a good-looking woman is offended when someone appreciates her beauty through catcalling. Yet the question still stands. If the reporter felt that the catcall was inappropriate, as a mature person, wouldn’t she had drawn the line right then and there at such manner?

There are many possible reasons why the initial reaction of the reporter was such. And it could all boil down to the person’s life experience. The reporter could have been used to being catcalled being such a handsome person, or maybe she felt ashamed to correct the matter, or maybe she felt that it was just a playful and innocent incident that could have been a sign of complement.

If you are on the fence about it, the incident is both right and wrong. The proof is that if the reporter deemed the incident as inappropriate, would she still be smiling after the remark? Why did others at the press conference laugh about it? It is because the incident plays a different meaning to each and every person who witnessed the incident.

Yet this incident didn’t fail to be played as sensational since it was reported that it was quickly shared in the social media at about 4,600 times the moment it was published.

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