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Sotto draws flak for belittling Taguiwalo’s single parenthood as 'na-ano lang'

In this July 2016 photo, Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo attends the State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte. Philstar.com / Rosette Adel, file

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Vicente “Tito” Sotto III earned criticism online on Wednesday for seeming to belittle Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo for being  a single parent.

At the Commission on Appointments’ hearing on Taguiwalo’s ad interim appointment, Sotto asked about her personal life and noted that she has two daughters but is unmarried.

Taguiwalo then replied that she did not have a typical life. She said that she graduated from the University of the Philippines in 1970 and was either with the underground movement or in prison from 1972 to 1986.

Nevertheless, Sotto persisted in commenting on her personal life during a hearing held to consider her qualifications to lead the Department of Social Welfare and Development .

“In the street language when you have children and you are single, ang tawag doon e, na-ano lang,” Sotto said. 

Sotto expressed his full support for the confirmation of Taguiwalo’s appointment but the secretary stressed that the traditional Filipino family is not the only valid setup for families.

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“Senator Sotto, I teach woman's studies, so we respect all kinds of families and that includes solo parents,” Taguiwalo answered Sotto.

Due to the exchange, the senator became a trending topic on social media, where netizens expressed their anger at his comments.

As of posting, "Tito Sotto" is the top trending topic on Twitter.

Gabriela Women's Party, whose lawmakers are members of the House majority bloc, also criticized Sotto for his comments, saying it "takes much offense, in behalf of solo parents — women raising their children amid difficult circumstances" at the senator's quip.

The party-list group said Sotto "clearly went out of bounds, insinuating malice at Taguiwalo who raised her two children as a solo parent, dubbing such as ‘na-ano’," and demanded an apology from Sotto, who is also a comedian and noontime variety show host.

 

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