STATEMENT: Stop the verbal abuse and all forms of violence against women and girls!

STATEMENT of Konsyensa Dabaw and other Dabawenyas

We, the women of Konsyensya Dabaw, together with other Dabawenyas, speak collectively to denounce verbal abuse and all forms of violence against women and girls that have seemingly become normalized in recent times.  Many of us have taken a stand against these on many platforms before. But we have decided to speak as one now as we join the rest of the world in commemorating the 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women and International Human Rights Day.

We are women who hail from or have found a home in Davao. We are educators, writers, non-government workers, lawyers, health practitioners, feminists, women’s rights advocates, peace workers, students, artists, entrepreneurs, government workers, and environmentalists.

Normalizing sexist language through jokes and insensitive remarks is detrimental when rape and other forms of gender-based violence (GBV) are increasing in many communities as women cope with the additional burdens of addressing COVID-19 impacts.

We cannot let these pass as cases of GBV in Davao itself have increased this year. Just recently, a 15-year old minor arrested for quarantine violation was allegedly raped by two barangay tanods. The United Nations Population Fund has also reported the pattern of increased GBV cases in the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We take pride in Davao City as the country’s first local government to pass a Gender and Development Code. The trailblazing Women and Development Code of Davao City 1997 has served as a model and inspiration for other local governments. The Code states, “it shall be the policy of the Local Government of Davao City to uphold the rights of women and the belief in their worth and dignity as human beings. Women shall be recognized as full and equal partners of men in development and nation building and men shall share equally with all forms of productive and reproductive activities.”

That Code was signed into law on 14 October 1997 by Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte, now President of the Philippines.

We lament that the President has displayed misogynistic behavior and used sexist language repeatedly. We recall his rape joke about a foreign missionary, the order to shoot female members of the New People’s Army in the vagina, and the trivialization of Vice President Leni Robredo’s disaster relief and recovery efforts. The State’s deplorable acts, specifically the continued persecution of women critical of the Duterte administration that have led to their imprisonment and even the death of an infant forcibly separated from her mother, follow and mirror the behavior and language. 

As Davao advocates for gender equality, women’s rights, and peace, we saySTOP THE VERBAL ABUSE, INSULTS, SEXIST JOKES, AND OTHER FORMS OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS!

We cannot put up with sexist jokes and remarks, especially those coming from the country’s highest officials and uttered in official functions. These trivialize women and girls and normalize our objectification. We cannot allow men and boys to be emboldened by national leaders’ examples with their blatant display of prejudice and chauvinism.

We are alarmed that the gains of many years of advocacy on gender sensitivity and mainstreaming and women’s rights are being eroded because the current government is failing to demonstrate leadership and good examples in instilling values that promote respect for women, decency, and civility.

We echo the statement of the Commission on Human Rights, the Gender Ombud, urging the government to fulfill its obligations, especially reminding “the President and other high ranking officials of their obligation not to perpetuate nor tolerate violence against women. We remind them that as officials, instead of making jokes at the expense of women during a government briefing, they have to respond immediately to the gendered and intersectional needs of women facing multiple disasters.

The country is already struggling under many challenges.  Several times in the past few weeks, Davao City posted the highest number of new COVID-19 cases nationwide, as reported by the Department of Health. Many parts of Mindanao are trying to recover from armed conflicts amid the pandemic. Luzon is still reeling from the super typhoons and massive flooding. On top of these difficulties, the President’s blatant display of his low regard for women and what we contribute to uplifting communities is unconscionable.

We urge the President to stop displaying misogyny and using sexist language. Instead, we exhort that he consistently demonstrate respect for women and girls and recognize our valuable contributions as equal partners of men.  We challenge him to be a better example to other government officials and our Filipino men and boys by following the letter and spirit of the country’s laws upholding and protecting women’s rights, especially the Gender and Development Code of Davao City.

We ask the President, who is in the last 19 months of his term, what legacy do you want to leave behind concerning women and girls?

We speak for ourselves and on behalf of those who will come after us, who, as today’s children, deserve better than to live in a culture of violence.

Kami nanawagan sa among mga kaigsoonang Dabawenyo sa pagpakita sa atong hiniusang pag-ila ug pagtahud sa mga katungod ug dignidad sa mga kababayen-an. Ihunong na ang pagbugal-bugal ug pagtamay sa kababayen-an ug pagyatak sa katungod sa mga kababayen-an! (We call on our fellow Dabawenyos to show our shared recognition of and respect for women’s rights and dignity. Stop the verbal abuse against and disrespect for women and violations of women’s rights!)  


  1. Mags Z. Maglana, Konsyensya Dabaw
  2. Norma Javellana, Environmentalist, Datu Bago Awardee 2018
  3. Melot Balisalisa, GAD Consultant and Sociologist
  4. Rosena Sanchez, GAD Consultant and Economist
  5. Patricia Sarenas, MINCODE and Abanse Pinay Partylist Representative 1998-2004
  6. Beatriz de Vera, NGO Worker
  7. Pilar Oringo, Educator, former Professor of Psychology
  8. Perpy C. Tio, Development Worker
  9. Maria Lourdes Tiangco, RSW
  10. Lyda B. Canson, Chair Emeritus, Gabriela Davao City
  11. Dr. Jean Lindo, Gabriela SMR
  12. Atty. Mary Ann Arnado, Davao City
  13. Jhoanna Lynn Cruz, UP Mindanao/Davao Writers Guild
  14. Memen Lauzon-Gatmaytan, Peace Advocate
  15. Carmela Santos, Environmental Planner
  16. Dr. Nuelle Duterte, NYC USA
  17. Flora Ninfa Santos-Leocadio, Enterprise Development Consultant
  18. Norma Mapansa Gonos, IP Advocate
  19. Concepcion Abayon Agudo, Entrepreneur
  20. Jennifer Ramos, Environmental Lawyer
  21. Maria Virginia Yap Morales, Book Writer
  22. Margarita Valle, Journalist
  23. Carolyn O. Arguillas, Journalist
  24. Germelina Lacorte, Journalist
  25. Mae Fe Templa, Social Worker
  26. Lyca Sarenas, Davao City
  27. Geejay Bajo-Williams, Performing Artist
  28. Kyra Noelle S. Paronda, Student
  29. Ethel Apuzen, Wellness and Health Practitioner
  30. Agnes Nelmida Miclat, Writer
  31. Joji Pantoja, Peacebuilders Community
  32. Eizel Hilario, DSD Student, UP-CSWCD
  33. Ram Botero, Artist
  34. Anne Shangrila Fuentes, Sociologist
  35. Jeanette Laurel-Ampog, Feminist
  36. Luzviminda Santos, Bangkal Davao City
  37. Ma. Loreto Abella Lopez, Entrepreneur
  38. Mary Fe B. Arquiza, Gender and Development Advocate
  39. Elizabeth Basilio Amparo, Entrepreneur
  40. Crystal Flores, Matina Davao City
  41. Dr. Elizabeth Paz R. Mangrobang, Quezon City
  42. Atty. Alice Morada, Cebu
  43. Annie Silvosa, Accountant
  44. Ma. Teresa Cabazares, Tugbok District Davao City
  45. Melissa Libre, Los Angeles California
  46. Ignacia Palo, Washington DC, USA
  47. Michelle Zambas, Cagayan de Oro City
  48. Cora Espinosa, SAMAKANA
  49. Atty. Francesca Sarenas, Saligan
  50. Arlene Aguirre Avelino, Retired Banker
  51. Corazon Dee, Development Advocate
  52. Daisy Canarias Apat, Development Worker
  53. Melissa Barrera, Cultural Worker
  54. Sarah Bernasor, Brisbane Australia
  55. Pia Duran, Filmmaker
  56. Angely Pamila Chi, Writer and Artist, Davao City
  57. Editha Mansayagan, Maragusan, Davao de Oro
  58. Bayang Barrios, Performing Artist
  59. Buen Gador, Davao City
  60. Esperanza A. Santos, Health and Environment Activist
  61. Chic Ramoso, Wellness Advocate
  62. Janette A. Demos, Sentro-Women
  63. Lily Mocles, Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa
  64. Louise Lampon, Peace and Development Worker
  65. Benggay Tionko-Los Banos, Entrepreneur
  66. Lia Jasmin Esquillo, Environmentalist
  67. Neema E. Villarin, Student
  68. Ianna E. Villarin, Student
  69. Elena Luz Alojipan, Lawyer
  70. Potri Ranka Manis, New York City
  71. Helen Gaspar, Educator
  72. Ivy Abella Cabreira, Corporate Secretary, Davao City
  73. Hermenegilda Escalante, SRH Frontliner
  74. Leila Rispens-Noel, Development Worker/Social Entrepreneur
  75. Ava Patricia Avila, PhD Hawaii
  76. Kenette Jean Millondaga, Davao City
  77. Ana Raissa Trinidad-Lagarto, Anthropologist
  78. Agnes Lorenzana, DSWD
  79. Emma Remitio, LED Consultant and Community Development Organizer
  80. Rosalinda Tomas, Educator/Anthropologist
  81. Judith Dalagan, Educator
  82. Mae S. Pacinabao-Galong, Gender Rights Advocate
  83. Penelope Sanz, Matina, Davao City
  84. Mae Kristine Cordenillo, Property Manager
  85. Ma. Luisa Dominguez San Jose, Hong Kong
  86. Marites Gonzalo, Educator
  87. Nel Villanueva, Pharmacist
  88. Louise Jashil Sonido, Asst. Professor, UP Diliman
  89. Anna Carreon, KAUGMAON
  90. Bai Raizsa Anayatin, MINCODE
  91. Agnes Bolanos, AADC
  92. Rowena De La Torre, Dabawenya
  93. Andrea Malaya M. Ragrario, Anthropologist
  94. Cleofe Ambulo, Davao City
  95. Inday Carreon, Development Worker Davao City
  96. Grace Mahinay, UPLM Davao City
  97. Divina Blanco, Retired Banker Bangkok Thailand
  98. Julienne Baldonado, Community Development Worker
  99. Lyndee Prieto, Peace Advocate
  100. Jo Villanueva, Cagayan de Oro City
  101. Lourdes Simpol, member of the GA, FPE
  102. Beau Baconguis, Environmental Activist
  103. Maris Olaivar Vanderyacht, Seattle USA
  104. Maya Flaminda J. Vandenbroeck, Writer, Little Flow Stories, Davao City
  105. June Freeman, Community Organizer
  106. Cha Murdock, Malaya Movement
  107. Veda Sachi C. Daliling, Student, Davao City
  108. Yennes Uyel Villanueva, Student, Cagayan de Oro
  109. Liwanag Anung, Child Rights Advocate  
  110. Lucille Binigay, Peace and Development Worker
  111. Alma L. Mondragon, Nurse
  112. Isaiah A. Alcomendras, Student, Davao City
  113. Aurea Christie Lumaad, M&E Specialist

If you want to sign this statement, please send a PM to the FB page of Konsyensya Dabaw)