By Deighton Acuin and Archie Villaflores

PHOTO: Manila Bulletin/Presidential Communications

This time, there are no crass jokes or offensive comments on women. After heavily criticized for remarks that presidential office is not for women, President Rodrigo Duterte is apparently amazed with number of women in leadership roles, particularly when he visited Surigao del Sur.

The high number of women leading Surigao del Sur cities left Duterte in awe when he conducted a briefing on the situation after Typhoon Auring onslaught.

The President acknowledged them in attending the briefing in Tandag City on reporting damages that occurred in the province.

“Puro babae man,” Duterte commented as he made a roll call of the local government officials present in the meeting.

It may have just been a passing remark that Duterte made, but truth be told – 11 of the 19 cities and municipalities in Surigao del Norte are run by women. 

For starters, the mayor of Tandag City, where the briefing was held, was Roxanne Pimentel. 

Among women leaders cited by the President were Mayor Josie Bonifacio of Cortes, Mayor Lilian Yu-Lozada of Cagwait, Mayor Jane Valeroso-Plaza of Carmen, Mayor Novelita Sarmen of Lianga, and Mayor Mary Grace Kimura of Madrid.

“Ma’am, I am pleased to meet you,” the President told the women leaders.

Other women in Surigao del Sur’s local government are Mayor Hazel Elizalde of San Miguel, Mayor Maria Clarita Garcia-Limbaro of Bayabas, Mayor Maria Clara Pichay of Cantilan, and Mayor Libertad Alameda of San Agustin.

Duterte earlier claimed presidency is not for women due to their emotional differences to men.

He made the remark to deny speculations that his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio will run as his successor on 2022 national elections.

He also discouraged his daughter from assuming presidency to spare her from hardship, from long hours of work to constant criticisms from the critics.

So far, the Philippines had two women who also served as commander-in-chief, namely Corazon C. Aquino from 1986 to 1992 and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from 2001 to 2010.

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