Furore over 'disgusting' kiss by Philippine Prez Duterte

Leroy Wright
June 8, 2018

PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte has drawn criticism for kissing an overseas Filipina worker on live television.

Two women went up the stage, and Duterte told them to share the book.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte's first trip to South Korea has yielded USD4.9-billion worth of investments, including a USD1-billion loan agreement with an interest of only 0.15 percent and payable in 40 years with a grace period of 10 years.

Social media was abuzz with photos and videos of him on stage before a crowd of Filipinos on Sunday night, when he asked an audience member to kiss him on the lips in exchange for a book he was handing out.

"We enjoyed it. It was a showbiz (thing) and everybody enjoyed it", Duterte told reporters upon his arrival back in Manila. "I also call on the public to exercise vigilance and discernment".

Duterte even said he was willing to step down over the issue if complaints mounted.

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Women's rights advocates in the Philippines recently launched an online #BabaeAko (I Am A Woman) campaign to show they were not taking Mr Duterte's "sexist" statements sitting down.

Since being elected in mid-2016, Duterte has caused uproar for his comments on women, including rape jokes, boasting about adultery, shaming female critics and inciting soldiers to shoot female guerillas in the vagina. The first woman gave him a kiss on the cheek and he gestured to the second woman to kiss him on the lips.

Duterte said critics were wrong in imputing malice into the kiss by two consenting adults. Besides, he said, kissing women was his own unique "style" during his 22 years as mayor of Davao City.

"The fact that you thought that kissing the woman would entertain people. that's something really sick", she added. "Majority are OFWs", he said.

"The President thanked Korea for its official development assistance", Roque said, citing that the Asian neighbor is the country's sixth largest source of ODA.

Lorraine Marie Badoy, the undersecretary for New Media and External Affairs for Duterte, said in a Facebook post: "Factor in his humanity, his feet of clay into all that greatness and in the end, the sum total is how he moves our country forward".

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