MANILA (UPDATED) – Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo on Thursday said that Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III's apology for his remarks on single mothers was "enough."
"I said my piece yesterday. I explained what my position is. Malinaw naman iyon, and the Senator apologized publicly. I think that, for me, that's enough, especially that he voted for the confirmation of Sec. Gina Lopez. That is an important step for me," Taguiwalo said during an event where she welcomed 41 repatriated Filipinos from Saudi Arabia who recently availed of the Saudi king’s amnesty program.
In Twitter posts, she thanked Sotto for his support of her confirmation, as well as those of Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael "Ka Paeng" Mariano, and Lopez.
She also clarified that while she indeed accepted Sotto's apology, it does not mean that she tolerates misogyny or anti-women comments, or attacks against solo parents.
This, despite Sotto's apology not fully capturing "the extent of the gravity of what his 'joke' implied."
On Thursday, Taguiwalo was with officials of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Department of Labor and Employment, and other government officials who assisted the second batch of repatriated Filipinos from Saudi Arabia at the NAIA Terminal 3.
A total of 41 Filipinos, including 17 children, arrived from Riyadh and are set to start a new life in the Philippines after staying in Saudi illegally for various reasons.
The event came a day after Sotto asked Taguiwalo about her status as a solo parent, during her confirmation hearing before the Commission on Appointments.
"In the street language, when you have children and you are single, ang tawag doon ay 'na-ano lang,'" Sotto said.
This remark was met with much criticism, particularly on social media, with prominent personalities expressing their support for single mothers.
Sotto later apologized to those who supposedly did not understand his “joke,” and blamed “trolls” for the controversy his remarks elicited.