Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has claimed 40% of the country’s communists rebels are gay.
‘Did you know that 40 percent of NPA [New People’s Army] fighters are gay?’ He told a rally at the weekend, according to the Phil Star.
NPA is the armed wing of the country’s communist party. Both the Philippines and the US have labeled it a terrorist organization by the Philippines and the US.
Duterte, often called the Donald Trump of the East, is known for his foul mouth and offensive remarks.
Last year, he claimed 90% of Catholic priests are gay. He also once said convicted criminals acquire ‘latent homosexuality’ in jail.
Gay sex is legal in the predominantly-Catholic Philippines. But, the government does not recognize same-sex unions.
LGBTI activists have been pushing the Senate to pass a long-stagnated sexual orientation and gender identity expression (SOGIE) Equality Bill to protect LGBTI people from discrimination.
President Duterte’s standing on the issue of same-sex marriage has seemingly flip-flopped in recent years. During his presidential campaign in 2016, he claimed he was ‘open’ to legalizing same-sex marriage.
He later backtracked in 2017. Last year, he said he was open to civil unions.
Rebels kissed my son
Duterte at the weekend told crowds his son, Sebastian, told him that four NPA soldiers had kissed him.
‘Four NPA rebels brought me to an area filled with coconut trees. All of them kissed me’ Duterte reportedly said, quoting his son.
‘So you were abused?’ Duterte said he asked his son.
‘He said: “Yes, everyone kissed me.” That’s okay. You now know how it feels to be kissed by gays. It feels better. That flirt!’ Duterte also reportedly said.
Founder of the Philippines communist party, Jose Maria Sison, reportedly called the president’s words ‘unbelievable’.
But, he reportedly said, the NPA accepted LGBTI recruits. Fighters must have revolutionary commitment though, he said.