President Duterte displayed again his vicious misogyny and terrorist language when he lashed out at Vice President Leni Robredo for upstaging him in coming to the rescue of typhoon “Ulysses” victims of Cagayan. Noticeably incommunicado and missing at the height of the crisis, Duterte made up for his absence by fuming against Robredo, spewing lies and ugly threats that only underscored his guilt over his gross dereliction of duty.

“Do not compete with me. Do not start a quarrel with me,” President Duterte said, seemingly irked at the vice president who has been at the forefront of relief operations during typhoon “Ulysses” which caused flooding in parts of Luzon including Metro Manila.

Duterte also made lewd comments and sexy remarks about Robredo.

Despite the meager budget of the Office of the Vice President, Robredo employed quick response and effective coordination via social media, helping many victims as a result.

Refusing to personally take credit, Robredo ascribed the success of the relief efforts to her staff and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

As the hashtags #LetLeniLead versus #NasaanAngPangulo trended online, it’s no wonder that Duterte found himself ranting on his Malacañang vlog entry about how he was bullied like a kid.

But all the people wanted was accountability.

She wasn’t upstaging the country’s Chief Executive; in fact, she was proof that the government was working and doing its part in calamities. So why was the President so angry at her?

All shapes and sizes

Actress Angel Locsin, who played “Darna,” the Filipino superheroine in the 2005 GMA television series of Mars Ravelo’s classic komiks, has lately done superhero acts worthy of a Darna: she protested the government shutdown of ABS-CBN network and helped raise money in the anti-Covid 19 relief drive.

In April, Locsin’s donation drive raised P11 million. The money was used to provide food packs, face masks and other personal protective equipment for health front-liners.

She also provided temporary sleeping quarters outside of hospitals for nurses and doctors.

Perhaps because of her support for ABS-CBN and her condemnation of the President’s statements against health workers, Locsin may have been the target of disinformation.

The Department of Education (DepEd) was criticized for a module that described Locsin as “an obese person” who always eats fatty and sweet food, watches television and does not have any physical activities.

According to the World Health Organization, obesity is defined as “an abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health.” It is used to classify adults with body mass indexes equal to or greater than 30.

These facts weren’t mentioned in the module where Locsin was said to be “obese.” The module said Locsin was obese because she kept on eating “Mang Inasal” chicken, a reference to the fast-food chain of which the actress is an endorser.

At the least, all of these claims aren’t correct or scientific ways to teach the condition of “obesity.” Locsin and her commercial endorsement were obviously mentioned by the module simply to ridicule her.

DepEd released a statement apologizing for the body-shaming module; they claimed that it was not part of their self-learning modules which would have been quality assured by the DepEd Central Office.

DepEd explained that the assessment was an assessment created by a teacher using the academic freedom she enjoys. But academic freedom should not be used to irresponsibly tag personalities to certain labels, especially when Locsin’s weight gain was the effect of medicine she was taking for a spinal injury.

Locsin called DepEd out for “distancing itself from the issue,” ignoring the fact that they are introducing ideas of discrimination and demanded the teacher apologize to his students for bad conduct.

Degrading Locsin is not a proper exercise of academic freedom. DepEd should not defend its teacher but reprimand her because she was not teaching properly and scientifically the condition of obesity, but merely ridiculing someone who had a weight problem. Obviously, she was singling out Locsin out of malice or a perverted sense of humor. The teacher should be fired for abetting miseducation and violating educational ethics.


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