MANILA –Gawad Kalinga founder Tony Meloto finally broke his silence after being slammed for his purportedly ‘sexist’ and ‘disturbing’ speech he delivered last month.
Meloto delivered his speech at the University of Hawaii-Manoa’s Center for Philippine Studies (CPS) as part of their 40th anniversary celebration.
The renowned Filipino entrepreneur stated in his Twitter account that he believed his speech actually received ‘enthusiastic and positive’ response from the audience. He was then puzzled as to why he was labeled ‘sexist and elitist.’
“First time to be called ‘sexist and elitist’ after 20 years of honoring our women and caring for the poor, after hundreds of speeches here and abroad,” Meloto said in one of his Tweets.
When asked by a Twitter user as to why he was being criticized, Meloto replied: “The immediate response was enthusiastic and positive, including inspiring newspaper articles of my speech.”
The CPS, however, had a different response.
“What was most disturbing about his speech was his sexism. His belief that the ‘greatest asset of the Philippines is our beautiful women,’ and that the future of the nation can be advanced by using them to attract the ‘best and brightest’ men from the West, and enticing them to invest in the Philippines, was outrageously sexist and deeply offensive to everybody in the audience, as well as patronizing and disrespectful to Filipino women in particular,” they said in an official statement released.
“Mr. Meloto went on to share his views on the need for Filipino women and their white husbands to produce what he (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 statement continued.
As read in their statement, the CPS was not amused by Meloto’s remarks and claimed that the crowd only let out a ‘nervous laughter’ when he delivered his speech. They were not at all ‘enthusiastic’ about it, with some of the audience leaving the venue.
The CPS had already apologized to its members who were offended by Meloto’s speech.
Aside from being ‘sexist and elitist,’ the Filipino entrepreneur was also slammed for referring to the Philippines as a ‘broken’ country and the Filipinos as ‘hopeless and violent’ people.
Prior the issue, Meloto was also known for working with the poor through global development programs that ‘built integrated, holistic and sustainable communities in slum areas.’ He was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for Community Leadership in 2006. And more recently, he was named as Reader’s Digest’s Top 4 Most Trusted Filipino in 2010.