Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople is calling on legislators to expand the coverage of the country’s anti-sexual harassment law to include all overseas personnel of the Philippine government.
Ople made the appeal during the organizational meeting of the Senate Committee on Migrant Workers Affairs (COMWA) chaired by Senator Raffy Tulfo.
She mentioned various cases she handled as a migrant workers’ advocate where diplomatic officials and other government personnel assigned overseas took advantage of female domestic workers who have sought refuge in embassy-run shelters.
“May mga instances po noon na nababalitaan namin na nilalabas ng overseas personnel ang wards para makipag-date.”
“May mga instances po noon na nababalitaan namin na nilalabas ng overseas personnel ang wards para makipag-date kaya sa DMW mahigpit po ang aming policy against sexual harassment,” she added.
Ople cited the case of an ambassador who was charged with sexual harassment by a domestic worker ten years ago before the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
However, the case was resolved only last month and the ambassador, who had since retired, was required to pay a fine.
“Second year high school lang ang tinapos nung domestic worker at kinuha siya sa shelter para maging kasambahay nung ambassador.”
“Second year high school lang ang tinapos nung domestic worker at kinuha siya sa shelter para maging kasambahay nung ambassador kaya clearly very vulnerable ang katayuan niya,” she said in explaining the case to the committee.
“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 concluded.