• Last year Mayor Duterte told Gabi Vice he supported same-sex marriage, but he appears to have backtracked. (ABS-CBN News)Source: ABS-CBN News
Could Rodrigo Duterte be an ally for the Philippines' LGBTQI community?
By
Ben Winsor

12 May 2016 - 12:31 PM  UPDATED 12 May 2016 - 12:44 PM

Filipino president-elect Rodrigo Duterte has made headlines around the world as that country's equivalent to US presidential hopeful Donald Trump after clashes with ambassadors and concern over his support of extra-judicial killings. But the Davao City mayor's views on LGBTQI rights will come as a surprise to many.

In 2015 the then Mayor was interviewed on the ABS-CBN News show Gandang Gabi Vice where host Vice Ganda asked about his childhood and support for LGBTQI citizens.

"I've always hated oppression [...] it's more of the human dignity than anything else" Duterte said, proclaiming the progress made in Davao under his leadership, "I was the first to say that, you know, stop this hypocrisy."

When Ganda asked what Duterte's take on same-sex marriage was, he replied "It's good, everyone deserves to be happy."

However, it appears that during his campaign for the presidency, Duterte's views have changed.

In January 2016 the Philippine Star reported that while Duterte supported LGBTQI people, he no longer supported same-sex marriage, and would not push for it as President. 

He told the newspaper that marriage was a holy union between a man and a woman, citing Christian tenets in the predominantly Catholic country. 

The Philippines is one of the most LGBTQI friendly countries in Asia, with 73 per cent of the country agreeing with the sentiment that society should accept homosexuality, according to Pew Research.

In the recent elections, the country also elected it's first ever transgender politician to national office in the northern province of Bataan.