Philippines presidential spokesperson says Swedish ambassador should judge Duterte by his actions

H.E. Harald Fries handed his credentials December 6, 2016 to President Rodrigo Duterte. To the left is also seen Kaarlo Laakso and to the right Lennart Jansson from the Swedish Embassy. (Photo: Facebook page of Embassy of Sweden in Manila.)

Swedish Ambassador to the Philippines Harald Fries has been told by the President Duterte’s spokesperson Salvador Panelo, that while his criticism of the President for making a joke about rape of women was understandable, Harald Fries should look at the President’s actions, not his words.

“The good Swedish envoy should judge the President, not by his words but by his deeds,” Panelo said.

Ambassador Fries had made the comment during the Media FIKA forum in Manila, Tuesday where President Duterte was a speaker.

“I don’t think those jokes are funny. That’s all I can say,” Fries said at the event.

The remarks by the president are captured here:

“The Palace understands the sentiments of the Ambassador of Sweden to the Philippines Harald Fries,” Panelo said in a statement on Wednesday night.

“We have to see the context of the President’s jokes, where these were told before local audience, which may not have the same acceptance with a foreign audience,” he added.

Panelo noted that Duterte had also signed landmark pro-women pieces of legislation, including the Expanded Maternity Leave Act (R.A. 11210) which grants mothers 105 days of paid maternity leave, and the Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act (R.A. 11148), which mandates the development of a strategy for the first 1,000 days of life to address the health, nutrition, and developmental problems affecting infants, young children, adolescent females, pregnant and lactating women, teenage mothers, and women of reproductive age.

Moreover, Panelo noted that it is under the Duterte administration when the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s Global Gender Gap Report 2018 placed the Philippines as the most gender equal nation in Asia.

The WEF report gave the Philippines high Global Gender Gap scores in the areas of educational attainment (ranked #1), political empowerment (ranked #13), and economic participation and opportunity (ranked #14).

“These findings highlight the government’s commitment to give Filipino women the recognition that they properly deserve, particularly their contributions in the home, in the workplace, in the community, and in nation-building,” Panelo said.


About Gregers Møller

Editor-in-Chief • ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

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