DFA clears 3 embassies over sex scheme

MANILA, Philippines – The Department on Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday, June 28, said Philippine embassies in Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong yielded no reports of sex-related offenses similar to those in Middle East posts.

“We are happy that these 3 posts do not have reports of sex-related offenses committed by post personnel against wards in their respective Filipino Workers' Resource Centers (FWRCs). The management of the FWRCs in these posts appears to be adequately protective of their wards,” the DFA said in a statement.

The DFA said this after it concluded a fact-finding consultation with these embassies' heads of posts.

The agency also consulted heads of posts from the Middle East and North Africa regarding the so-called sex-for-flight schemes in certain embassies.

'Best policies, practices'

It will submit recommendations to the President and to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) “on best policies and practices covering the management and operations of FWRCs,” the DFA said.

The DFA earlier said it eyes "institutional changes" in FWRCs, its halfway houses for distressed overseas Filipino workers. These changes include designating one house mother per FWRC.

Scandal has hounded the Philippines' Middle East embassies after an exposé on the alleged sex-for-flight scheme.

This weekend, the DOLE fact-finding team will go to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Jordan to investigate the issue, according to DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez. The DFA will send an observer to accompany the DOLE team. – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.