Oliver Bugarin 3 0 0 5 min to read

Extend the ban on sexual harassment to foreign diplomats: Ople

Susan “Toots” Ople, secretary of the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), stated on Wednesday that all government employees serving overseas should be covered by the anti-sexual harassment statute.

Ople, a well-known advocate for migrant workers, claimed that she has dealt with instances of diplomatic representatives and other government employees working in foreign embassies and government offices abusing female domestic workers, particularly those who have sought refuge in embassy-run shelters.

There have been cases where we have heard that overseas workers have taken the wards out on dates, thus the DMW has a very strict policy against sexual harassment, she said.

During the organizational meeting, Ople made the appeal in front of the Senate Committee on Migrant Workers Affairs (COMWA), which is headed by Senator Raffy Tulfo.

She stated, “I hope the coverage of the anti-sexual harassment law is expanded to include all government employees assigned to different countries, from ambassadors to drivers and local hires,” adding, “Sana po palawakin po ang coverage ng anti-sexual harassment law para maisama ang lahat ng government employees assigned sa iba’t ibang bansa mula sa ambassador hanggang sa mga drivers at local hires.”

Ople referenced a case in which an ambassador was accused of sexual harassment by a domestic servant ten years prior and appeared before the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

The ambassador, she claimed, was permitted to leave the service and was not subject to any criminal charges as a result of the incident.

The DFA judgment, according to Ople, was only made public last month, and the ambassador was only compelled to pay a fine.

“The domestic worker only completed second-year high school and was taken from the shelter to be the ambassador’s maid, so her status is clearly very vulnerable,” Ople told the committee. “Second-year high school lang ang tinapos nung domestic worker at kinuha siya sa shelter para maging kasambahay nung ambassador.”

Senator Robinhood Padilla stated during the meeting that ambassadors and other diplomatic staff who sexually abuse overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) abroad should face stiffer penalties.

According to Padilla, by committing the crime, these Filipino diplomats breached their vows to defend their countrymen abroad.

He promised to go down a Philippine ambassador who, ten years prior, had sexually harassed an OFW but got away with it.

As it is difficult to comprehend that the ambassador is regarded as the father of OFWs in other countries and yet he mistreated the OFW, Padilla stated the government must pursue the aforementioned Ambassador.

“Hindi ko lang mapapalampas na ang ambassador—you have an oath na proteksyunan mo ang Pilipinas at ang mga tao nito sa harapan ng Diyos, sa harapan ng Konstitusyon, tapos gagawa siya ng ganoon,” the speaker said. I cannot let this ambassador get away with abusing her after swearing an oath to defend the nation and the Filipino people in front of God and the Constitution, Padilla added.

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