House to probe sexual exploitation of OFWs by DFA, labor execs

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Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello

MANILA, Philippines — After securing the chairmanship for the committee on overseas workers affairs at the House of Representatives, Akbayan’s Walden Bello on Tuesday said that he would seek the investigation of the alleged sexual exploitation cases on distressed female Filipino workers in the Middle East.

In a phone interview with INQUIRER.net, Bello said that their group had not received word from both the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on their separate inquiries into the alleged involvement of Philippine Embassy and labor officials in the scandal.

“We have not been appraised of developments in the investigation. Although we have constantly asked for updates, we have not received information other than being told that they are already investigating,” he said.

Bello exposed the sexual exploitation cases months ago, prompting the DFA and the DOLE to ask the officials named in these cases to return to the Philippines for an investigation.

But it was not just the “slow pace” of the two departments’ investigation which prompted the Akbayan lawmaker to launch a congressional inquiry.

“We had planned this ever since. This was planned irrespective of their investigation. We said that once Congress opens, we will file a resolution whereby the House would conduct and inquiry. We filed the resolution on July 1 and yesterday I was appointed chairman of the Overseas Workers Affairs Committee,” he said.

“The first order of business for this committee will be that resolution for an inquiry into these cases,” Bello said.

The Akbayan lawmaker said that a congressional inquiry into cases of sexual abuse on OFWs became “even more important” since the DFA and the DOLE’s investigations have been lagging.

He said the investigation would start as soon as he has assembled the panel.

“It might be on the second or fourth week of each month,” Bello said when asked about a possible schedule for the hearings.

Bello said his panel would have to start from scratch as the DFA and the DOLE have not shared what they have so far discussed in their own inquiries.

“We need to investigate. They are not telling us who have been dismissed. They are not giving us updates about the investigation,” he said.

The Akbayan lawmaker said they appreciated the separate inquiries being conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Department of Justice (DOJ).

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • philhumanist

    Hayan na naman, puro probe lang kayo, lalo na ang Senate, wala namang nangyayari. Di lang sexual exploitation ng sarili nilang mga kababayan ang malaking problema ng mga OFWs, lalo sa Middle East. Mas malaking problema ang sexual and other physical abuses ng mga employers sa housemaids at violation of labor contracts of thousands of OFWs. Ilang dekada na ang mga problemang ito, wala namang nagawang improvement ang past and present administrations. Gising-gising at action naman…

  • tita_cacayan

    wag nyong takpan ang mainit ngayon ,congresman on pork barrel at senator and congresman on custom

  • jojoD

    apart from this issue, among the embassy officials these polo officers are the usual if not always the most corrupt esp. in dealing with job orders applied by manpower agencies or their principals for verification & stamping! one of them was assigned in the uae, his signature will remain invisible unless otherwise there’s something you put in his other hand!

    how i wish this can be included in this investigation, please start with the recently replaced abu dhabi’s highest polo officer cong bello.

  • http://gmail.com/ Naldo

    card stocking yan!

  • Rejenal Pang

    hello

    sex slaves is the Philippines culture anyway

    Postal BRIDE domestic workers over stay

    U name it Philippines all come on top of the list

    “We need to investigate….so politic
    all U need is to open your eye

  • superpilipinas

    See Mr. Bello. Even you as a congressman are made to face a blank wall and could not get useful information from departments. Think about ordinary citizens who need information for their problems or opportunities that need quick attention.

    This is why you need to PUSH FOI LAW AS TOP PRIORITY FOR LEGISLATION. Make these departments or agencies and their personnel provide information and face heavy penalties if they don’t. Better governments in the world have this law and had it since decades ago.

    FOI law helps resolve your OFW exploitation, the BoC’s corruption, the 10-Billion PDAF corruption, and so many others that we might not even know about. All we know are those that are exposed by very few brave or threatened whistle-blowers.

    The corrupt, the criminals, the incompetents, all these bad people are thriving because we do not have FOI law.

    The one law that would quickly change the Philippines tremendously for good …. is the FOI law.

    • koolkid_inthehouse

      That’s reality, ordinary citizens are always left in the dark. If DOLE and DFA has nothing to hide, the investigation should be transparent, they protect their own or harboring criminals and corrupt people.

  • mangpepe

    house probe na naman tigilan na iyan dapat masusing imbestigasyon ipakulong ang maysala thats it sinasayang niyo na naman oras sa house probe na iyan mga palalo

  • albert

    tinulugan na ng DFA / OWWA un..

  • kismaytami

    Wala naman daw sabi ng dfa, dole at vp. Kasi wala raw silang nakita noong nagpunta sila roon. Aba natural, pinabalik na nila sa Pilipinas yung mga sangkot bago pa sila nag-imbestiga.

  • juan de la cruz

    Being a Chairman for Committee on Overseas workers affairs, can we see any changes on the assignment of DFA Personnel particularly in the middle east be christian?

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