According to International partners as well as partners from the Philippines cases of violence, sexual violence to the point of sexual abuse against women have increased substantially during Duterte’s regime. Especially human rights defenders are increasingly being the target of degrading and sexualised insults, threats of rape and sexual assaults. In Joint Meeting of EU Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) and the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) on October 28, 2020, Maria Ressa, CEO and co-founder of Rappler, focused on the fact that women are being targeted by hate campaigns ten times more than men.
The networks’ political arm Gabriela women’s party has been red-tagged by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) together with 18 other organisations. The party strongly rejects these allegations. “In fact, Gabriela Women’s Party authored hundreds of pro- women and pro-poor laws, including the recently passed RA 11210 or the Expanded Maternity Leave Law,” said Gabriela’s Party-list representative, Arlene Brosas. Several celebrities such as actress Liza Soberano have received death threats because of their support of Gabriela. Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr, one of the leading government voices on social media, told her: “Liza Soberano, there’ s still a chance to abdicate that group. If you don’t, you will suffer the same fate as Josephine Anne Lapira“. Lapira was a 22-year-old student who was killed in 2017 by government troops. Soberano’s “support” of Gabriela was giving a talk on a webinar organised by the party.