27 May 2015

Tony Meloto's Statements Degraded Women

Tony Meloto
The University of Hawaii Center for Philippine Studies has just slammed Gawad Kalinga founder Tony Meloto for his alleged degrading remarks about women in a speech he delivered during an anniversary event there last April 2015.

The University of Hawaii Center for Philippine Studies found it disturbing Meloto’s belief that "the greatest asset of the Philippines is our beautiful women." Meloto allegedly went on to say that they can be used to entice the "best and brightest" men in the West to invest in the country.

The center called it "outrageously sexist and deeply offensive to everybody in the audience, as well as patronizing and disrespectful to Filipino women in particular."

The center's director, Dr. Vina Lanzona, confirmed in an e-mail to ABS-CBNnews.com that the statement was a "collective statement, released by the Executive Council of the Center for Philippine Studies, University of Hawaii at Manoa." The statement is also going viral on Facebook.

ABS-CBNnews.com tried, but failed to talk to Meloto’s camp.

The center also slammed Meloto for calling on Filipinas to produce "cappuccino" offspring with their American husbands.

"Equally offensive, Mr. Meloto went on to share his views on the need for Filipino women and their white husbands to produce what Mr. Meloto (apparently humorously) called 'cappuccinos,' and appeared to present such a policy of seduction and reproduction as a solution to the problems of economic development in the Philippines," the center said.

The center condemned the remarks, saying "these are views that the CPS, an institution pioneered and for many years run by strong, and intelligent Filipino women, completely and utterly rejects."

Meloto was invited as a guest speaker at the University of Hawaii at Manoa last April during a culminating "fiesta" event for the center’s 40th anniversary.

"Mr. Meloto's speech put the CPS in a very difficult position. This was our event, celebrating 40 years of hard work and dedication to the goals of the CPS, and yet the guest speaker we had invited and given a platform showed little respect for the values and goals we had gathered to celebrate," it said.

It said it will take responsibility over what happened. It also apologized to those who were offended.

Yet, "we also wish to make clear our disavowal of these views; views that do not represent, and indeed violate, the values and ideals for which we've been fighting all these years," the center said.