OVERSEAS Filipino workers’ (OFWs) advocate and former ACTS-CIS party-list Rep. Aniceto “John” Bertiz III on Friday commended the Duterte administration for its swift action against Philippine Ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro who was caught in a video allegedly showing her physically abusing a member of her 51-year old Filipina household staff.
“I commend our government for its prompt action to recall Ambassador Mauro and hold her accountable for the alleged maltreatment of her 51-year-old house helper. Let Ambassador Mauro face a proper trial and, if found guilty, be punished under our laws,” said Bertiz, now a deputy director-general for partnerships and linkages of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
“I urge concerned government agencies to extend full support to Ambassador Mauro’s house helper not only by providing her free legal aid service but also counseling and financial assistance to allow her and her dependents recover from the trauma,” Bertiz said.
Bertiz said “it pains me to see the video of how Ambassador Mauro hitting her Filipina house helper as it recalls the similar ordeals of all other overseas Filipino workers who had suffered abuses and maltreatment in the hands of their local and foreign employers.”
“It is not the kind of news we need to hear these days; it is not the kind of video we want to watch either, especially as we all struggle to rise from the adverse effects of the coronavirus pandemic on our lives and economy,” Bertiz said.
“No Filipino worker should be maltreated here and abroad by anyone and much less, by a high ranking official of our government. The trauma of physical violence also leaves a permanent scar on the mental wellbeing of the victim,” he added.
Manila Rep. Bienvenido “Benny” Abante Jr. on Thursday underscored the importance for Philippine diplomats abroad to set a good example in treating OFWs.
“Philippine diplomats abroad who are duty-bound to come to the defense of abused and mistreated overseas Filipino workers in their areas of jurisdiction should be above reproach and must treat their workers in the manner by which we want our OFWs to be treated by their own employers,” said Abante.
The preacher-congressman, who routinely meets with OFWs when he visits his congregations in foreign countries, cautioned that “our envoys abroad may lose the moral high ground in their efforts to ensure the proper treatment of OFWs abroad because of this unfortunate episode.”
“This is why we welcome the action immediately taken by DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) Sec. [Teodoro ‘Teddyboy’] Locsin [Jr.] in this matter. By recalling Ambassador Mauro and having her investigated, we are showing that we have zero tolerance for this kind of deplorable behavior,” said Abante.
The lawmaker urged the DFA to fast-track the inquiry as he believes “the video footage speaks for itself.”