Jun 182013



MANILA, Philippines—Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello claimed Tuesday that three Philippine embassy officials have been sexually exploiting distressed Filipino female workers in the Middle East, a practice that higher-ups had allegedly ignored.

Bello said at a news conference that two of the embassy personnel, whom he identified as officers of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in the Jordanian capital Amman and in Kuwait, were involved in running sex rings in those two places that send Filipinas to service wealthy clients.

The third official, he claimed, was a member of the augmentation team of the Department of Foreign Affairs at the embassy in Damascus, Syria, who allegedly engaged in sexual acts with OFWs staying at the embassy’s shelter for distressed workers.

Bello said he was making a public disclosure of the information, which he claimed had come from “unimpeachable sources” within the DFA and the DOLE, after they asked him to expose the unsavory deeds perpetrated in their offices.

“Indeed, our sources have asked us to expose the criminals in their ranks because their acts are giving the agencies a bad name, and they can no longer tolerate the inaction of their superiors,” he said.

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Tags: Features , Global Nation , Philippine diplomats , Sexual harassment

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Feb 072013
Congress approves new overseas voting bill

By Leila B. Salaverria Philippine Daily Inquirer 2:57 pm | Thursday, February 7th, 2013 Representative Walden Bello MANILA, Philippines—Before adjourning for the campaign, Congress approved a bill that would make it easier for overseas Filipinos to cast their vote, and change the way that the country recognizes its voters who are not in the country. The House of Representatives ratified Wednesday night the amended overseas voting bill, which means it could now be sent to the President for his signature so that it could be enacted into law. The Senate ratified the bicameral report earlier. Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello, the bill’s author in the House, said the measure will improve the way the country recognizes the role and contribution of overseas Filipinos to nation-building. The bill will no longer give them the tag “overseas absentee voters” and instead recognize them simply as “overseas voters,” Bello said in a statement. This was an important, emotional matter for the Filipinos abroad, he said. The bill will also make it easier for immigrants to join the electoral exercise, he said. The bill would remove the provision in the law that requires Filipino immigrants or permanent residents abroad to execute an affidavit stating that they intend to resume physical permanent residence in the Philippines in three years before they could register as overseas voters. The new registration rules, however, are expected to be applicable for the 2016 elections because the registration period for the 2013 elections ended last year. “Removing the return requirement will Read More …