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Senator Pia Cayetano to Air Asia: Apologise on ‘anti-women’ radio ad

Philippine Senate – Senator Pia S. Cayetano on Monday called on an airline company to issue a public apology over a radio advertisement promoting its ticket sale which she said contained derogatory remarks on women.

In a privilege speech marking the start of the Women’s Month of March, the senator took offense at the latest radio ad of Air Asia Zest, which she said commodified women by suggesting that the company’s ‘Red, Hot Piso Sale’ was a better deal than a ‘hot chick.’

The radio ad featured two male voices discussing how the ticket sale was cheaper and more enjoyable than an attractive woman with long legs, small waist and smooth skin.

Cayetano, the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women Family Relations and Gender Equality, played a recorded version of the ad on the session floor for the reference of her fellow senators.

She told the body that she learned about the ad over the weekend from a comment shared by a male Facebook user who heard the ad on radio and found it offensive to women.

Part of the ad goes:

Guy 1: [Makes cat call whistle] ‘Ang hot ng chick pare!’

Guy 2: ‘Hindi naman.’

Guy 1: ‘Ha? Ang ganda kaya ng katawan! Long legs, liit ng baywang, tapos ang kinis pa ng balat! Ano pang gusto mo?’

Guy 2: ‘May mas hot pa dyan.’

Guy 1: ‘Ow…asan? Patingin nga?’

Guy 2: ‘Ayan, o. Yang Red Hot Piso sale ng Air Asia Zest. Di tulad sa chicks, pre, maliit lang ang gastos dito. Mas mag-eenjoy ka pa. O, ano? Sino nang mas hot ngayon? Air Asia Zest na pare!’

“I take offense and, clearly, from the comments that we saw on social media, many people were also offended by this type of ad. It portrayed the Air Asia Zest promo to be a better deal than a woman. Mr. President, this is not acceptable and we call upon the management to make a public apology,” said Cayetano.

“The ad is no longer airing because the promo has run its course [the ticket sale lasted until March 2], but I believe that we should be very firm in our action because these kinds of advertisements are heard by many young people, both young girls and boys. And I think it sets a very wrong standard when we allow these kinds of statements to be made in public,” she stressed.

The senator recalled that when she was still running for the Senate in 2004, there was a similar public uproar over a liquor company ad that enticed drinkers by comparing its 15-year-old brandy to adolescent girls with the tag line, ‘Nakatikim ka na ba ng kinse anyos?’ (‘Have you tasted a fifteen year-old?’).

“Although we may have drastically improved on gender equality and though we may be faring than other countries in terms of recognizing the roles and equal rights of women, I believe there is still a lot of work to do.”

Earlier on Monday, the lady senator led the opening of an exhibit at the Senate, ‘Empowered Filipinas: Raising the Bar,’ which showcased various Filipino women who have excelled in their respective fields. Cayetano was joined at the exhibit opening by Senate President Franklin Drilon and fellow lady senators Cynthia Villar and Nancy Binay.

Among the women who were featured in the exhibit were also present at the session floor when Cayetano delivered her speech. They included: Former Senator Helen Benitez, a pioneer of pro-women and pro-environment laws in the Senate, who will turn 100 years old this June; Wu Shu champion Janice Hung; Aurora ‘Aimee’ Carandang-Gloria, the first Filipina commercial pilot and first female pilot in Asia; Ariella Arida, who was crowned Ms. Universe 2013 3rd Runner-up; and critically acclaimed film maker Hannah Espia. The late Engracia ‘Lola Asiang’ Cruz Reyes, who founded the famed Aristocrat restaurant chain, was represented by members of her family.