MANILA, June 24 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine government on Monday confirmed at least one case of sexual harassment and molestation perpetrated by a labor attache against distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Middle East.
At a press conference, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario did not name the official involved, but revealed that an official of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) has been accused by three Filipina workers from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, of making lascivious comments and offers of their speedy repatriation in exchange for sex while they were still housed at the Filipino Workers Resource Center.
Del Rosario was referring to the three OFWs that he met last Friday who disclosed their encounter with the embassy official prior to the consultation and fact-finding meetings conducted by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) with the 13 heads of posts (HOPs) from the Middle East and North African countries.
The OFWs bolstered the allegations made last week by Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello of sexual molestations being experienced by vulnerable OFWs in the hands of some embassy officials in Syria, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, prompting the DFA to call home the heads of these diplomatic posts, as well as the rest of the Middle East and North African cluster.
"Certain allegations were confirmed. The allegations of at least one lady of sexual harassment and molestation and abuse of authority have been confirmed... All other allegations will remain as allegations, which will be further investigated," he said.
"As of today, he has been recalled and he would be investigated when he arrives," he added, referring to the POLO staffer accused of seeking sexual favors from OFWs.
Del Rosario said the consultations were not able to establish allegations of prostitution rings operating in these embassies. He expressed hope that more victims and witnesses will come forward to file formal complaints.
Protesters stage anti-gov't rally in Bangkok
World Naked Bike Ride kicks off in Vancouver
Security tightened in Pakistan after bomb attack
'50th Exhibition of classic vintage cars kicks off
Beatles' wax figures exhibited in Washington
Pole Dance National Day marked in Mexico