Davao Women’s Code in the spotlight after ‘hipon’ joke, other episodes

Posted on August 22, 2014

DAVAO CITY -- This city, a pioneer in having a set of local laws that are intended to protect women, has seen over the last three months controversial issues that seem to put its Women’s Code to the test.

A barangay chairwoman in the city, Angela Trinidad, said these issues should be reviewed in the light of the Women Development Code of Davao, which was passed in 1997.

The first incident involves young entrepreneur Kat Dalisay, whose rave party last month -- featuring scantily clad women dancers -- angered the city council, which provoked her, in turn, to call them “hypocrites.”

“The fact that only the women dancers were scantily clad and not the male dancers readily proves this [violation of the Women’s Code],” Ms. Trinidad said.

Ms. Dalisay’s business permit has since been revoked over misdeclaration and nonpayment of taxes.

Meanwhile, a video of the chief of police mauling and verbally abusing his wife had also gone viral. The police chief defended this altercation as a private matter. Ms. Trinidad said this amounts to an admission that makes him liable for violation of Republic Act 9262, the law defining violence against women and children.

Then just last week, comedian Ramon Bautista drew flak at the Kadayawan Festival when he joked that Davao women are “hipon,” slang for a woman with a beautiful body but an ugly face.

Ms. Trinidad said the incident is not simply an insult to Davao women but, moreover, an issue concerning women in general.

“The mere fact that he made a joke against women and he equated women with food and an object, he already violated the Women’s Code,” said Councilor Leah Librado-Yap.

The city council passed a resolution Tuesday declaring Mr. Bautista persona non grata in Davao.

Ms. Trinidad said these incidents show that “women laws are again at the risk of being prejudiced. Definitely, this is no laughing matter. Meeting these issues head-on is the call of the times.” -- Maya M. Padillo with a report from Carmencita A. Carillo