Miss Universe Philippines Rabiya Mateo has shared her reaction to President Rodrigo Duterte's controversial statement back in January that women are not fit for the presidency.
Duterte made the statement during the inauguration of the Skyway Stage 3, as he denied that his daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio would succeed him in 2020.
"My daughter, inuudyok naman nila. Sabi ko my daughter is not running. I have told Inday not to run kasi naawa ako sa dadaanan niya na dinaanan ko," he said.
"Hindi ito pambabae. Alam mo, the emotional set-up of a woman and a man is totally different. Maging gago ka dito. That is the sad story," he added.
In an interview with pageant website Missosology this past weekend, the 24-year-old beauty queen said she "completely disagrees" with the president's opinion, noting that the country has had two female leaders: Corazon "Cory" Aquino and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
"By doing that women are as capable as men in handling a nation," she said.
She also cited New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who has been hailed around the world for her government's quick action on COVID-19.
“Their female leader was able to nurse a newborn but at the same time she was able to become a mother to her land,” she said, referring to Ardern, who gave birth to her first child while still running the country in 2018.
Rabiya also pointed out that emotions can make for great leadership.
“I am a woman and I believe that my [emotions] do [take] part in my leadership skills. I have so much heart, I have so much calling in being a leader actually and I do disagree with this thought. I can lead my country because I have the power to do so," she said.
She went on: “We live in an era in which we need to treat men and women equally. We need to give them the same opportunities. I won’t agree with something like this (Duterte’s remark) because I know my capabilities and strengths as a woman and I know I can make a difference, so much difference"
“We need female leaders who will put their emotions in making decisions. Because it’s not all about experience. Sometimes you need to [use] your [emotions] to be the mother of the country,” she added.
Meanwhile, when asked about which quality Filipinos should look for in candidates in the 2022 national elections, Rabiya answered honesty.
“If there’s going to be one aspect of being a leader that I would like to highlight, that is being honest,” she said. "Because all the good things will go after that. An honest leader is somebody who is just, who is humane but most importantly he or she is accountable [for] what is happening in his or her country.
“We need to look at the background of these leaders. And we really need to use our mind and our heart in doing so because this is going to give the opportunities to our children to build a better society for the future," she continued.
“So I hope this 2022, Filipinos will be smarter and we will choose the best possible leaders for our country," she ended.