US envoy Thomas firm on why male tourists come to PH–DFA chief
MANILA, Philippines — United States Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas is standing by his statement that 40 percent of male tourists come to the Philippines for sex, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario told a Senate hearing on Tuesday.
When he talked to Thomas, Del Rosario said the ambassador claimed that his statement could be substantiated by the Department of Justice.
“Yes, when I spoke to the ambassador himself, I asked him what was the basis for the figures that is being represented in his statement. His response was, ‘Yes we have basis for this and the basis that we have can be substantiated by the DoJ who we work with very closely [with] in terms of dealing with the human trafficking problem.’ That was his response,” said the foreign secretary , responding to Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero’s queries during the hearing of the committee on finance to discuss the budget of the DFA.
“So it’s our intention to be able to get back to the DoJ to confirm whether in fact there is a figure that there’s an estimate that coincides with the estimate of the statement made by the American ambassador,” Del Rosario added.
But Escudero was not satisfied by the ambassador’s explanation.
“That response in so far as I’m concerned is unacceptable. He simply passed the ball onto the DoJ,’” said the senator. “After he made the statement, the DoJ itself did not know and does not know where that figure the ambassador [made] came from.”
He then urged the DFA to act more strongly on the ambassador’s statement and other similar statements that would be issued against the Philippines or its people.
In fact, Escudero said he would have wanted a stronger statement from Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez.
“I don’t think we should take it sitting down. I don’t think we should take it calmly. I don’t think we should simply take his words for it and let him get away with it,” he said.
“It’s a slap on the face. It’s embarrassing. It’s shameful, and it’s unacceptable and I hope the DFA would act more strongly against such statements made either by this or any ambassador in the future that tend to affect and embarrass not only our country but our people as a whole,” Escudero added.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.