HIGHLIGHT: A group of women leaders called the Forum on Women for Action with Rody Duterte (ForwaRD Women), composed of professionals, workers, organization leaders and urban poor, remain supportive of the Davao City Mayor and PDP-Laban (Partido Demikratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan) standar bearer, amid public backlash he received for his rape statement.
Dinah Tolentino-Fuentes, the facilitator of ForwaRD women compared Duterte with his rivals especially lady presidentiables, Sen. Grace Poe and Sen. Miriam Santiago, who did not have a comprehensive agenda for women unlike the mayor.
“Not one candidate, even the women candidates Poe and Santiago who are running for president, did such a thing,” Tolentino-Fuentes said.
For his strong stand on mining, drugs and crime and respect for the rights of indigenous people, human rights lawyer Cheryl Dayte of Benguet, also expressed support for Duterte.
The group also posted a video showing the reasons why their group support Duterte -apparently a collection of things he has done in his city, such as free legal assistance for women, mobile libraries for kids and construction of parks for recreation.
Over the weekend, Duterte has been criticized by GABRIELA, a women's party sitting in Congress and up for re-election.
“Mayor Rodrigo Duterte should immediately apologize for his statements making fun of rape," GABRIELA national vice chair Gert Libang said.