Mateo, a 24-year-old physical therapist, voiced her thoughts on leadership and the President’s sexist statement in an interview with pageant website Missosology.
Miss Universe Philippines 2020 Rabiya Mateo said she firmly believes that women “are as capable as men”.
In response, Mateo quipped that Filipinos have higher standards for Miss Universe over their own leaders.
“That shouldn’t be the case, right? We need to have stricter qualifications to vote someone,” she noted.
“And if there’s gonna be one aspect of being a leader that I would like to highlight, that is being honest,” she said.
“Because all the good things will go after that. An honest leader is somebody who is just, who is humane but most importantly he or she is accountable [for] what is happening in his or her country.”
“We need to look at the background of these leaders,” Mateo stressed, “And we really need to use our mind and our heart in doing so because this is gonna give the opportunities to our children to build a better society for the future.”
“So I hope this 2022, Filipinos will be smarter and we will choose the best possible leaders for our country.”
“Well I do respect the President but I completely disagree with this thought,” said Mateo. She noted that the country has had two female presidents. “By doing that women are as capable as men in handling a nation.”
She also cited New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, whose swift and effective Covid-19 response has been hailed.
“Their female leader was able to nurse a newborn but at the same time she was able to become a mother to her land.”
Mateo also argued that emotions can make for good leadership.
“I am a woman and I believe that my emotions do take part in my leadership skills,” she said. “I have so much heart, I have so much calling in being a leader actually and I do disagree with this thought. One can lead my country because I have the power to do so.”
“We live in an era in which we need to treat men and women equally. We need to give them the same opportunities,” Mateo stressed. “I won’t agree with something like this (Duterte’s statement). Because I know my capabilities and strengths as a woman. I know I can make a difference, so much difference.”
“We need female leaders who will put their emotions in making decisions. Because it’s not all about experience. Sometimes you need to [use] your [emotions] to be the mother of the country,” she added.
The Iloilo City beauty is also Miss Universe Philippines’ ambassador for education.