MANILA, Philippines — In order to improve its status in the United States’ annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, the Philippines needs to convict embassy officials who will be found guilty of currying sexual favors from distressed female overseas Filipino workers in exchange for their repatriation, a lawmaker at the House of Representatives said Friday.
Akbayan Partylist Representative Walden Bello felt that the Philippines was not doing enough to curb the incidence of human trafficking and said that one way of sending a message about the country’s resolve would be to “dismiss officials engaged in sex trafficking”.
The US’ TIP Report showed that the Philippines retained its Tier 2 status and noted that there was a “paucity of arrests and convictions”.
“We need to clean up our agencies,” Bello, who heads the committee on overseas workers affairs at the House of Representatives, told INQUIRER.net.
The partylist lawmaker has accused three Philippine Embassy officials of involvement in sexual exploitation in the Middle East, prompting an investigation by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
The legislator warned that he would resign from the House should the government fail to hold accountable Philippine Overseas Labor Office (Polo) in Amman, Jordan assistant labor attaché Mario Antonio, Kuwait Polo officer Blas Marquez and a certain “Kim” in Damascus.
Antonio in a press conference Thursday denied the allegation.
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