MANILA - The Commission on Human Rights has reminded President Rodrigo Duterte to be careful in making statements that may affect overseas Filipino workers, following the chief executive's "admission" that he made inappropriate actions toward a female help during his younger years.
In a statement, CHR Spokesperson Jacqueline Ann De Guia said the President and his administration should be mindful of government efforts to protect Filipino workers abroad.
“We then encourage the administration to be consistent both in words and deeds in this regard, and refrain from making statements that may contravene its commitment to uphold the rights of Filipino workers abroad, such as the previous remark by the President claiming to have abused a female domestic worker during his teenage years,” De Guia said.
The President made the statement last week in Kidapawan City in relation to a confession he made before a Catholic priest who allegedly touched him.
The palace quickly defended the President by saying it was a “concocted” story to bolster criticisms against alleged sexual abuses committed by priests.
The CHR noted that Filipino workers especially women continue to face threats abroad, including the recent incident in Kuwait which led to a diplomatic crisis.
“The current administration is fully aware of this condition when, in early 2018, the government even prompted a deployment ban in Kuwait following numerous cases of disappearance, death, and abuses of Filipino workers. Reports of similar forms of maltreatment are also being reported in other countries,” De Guia said.
The CHR stressed that respect should start in the Philippines to ensure that every Filipino abroad is accorded the respect that they deserve.
“It is only by respecting the rights of all and allowing our laws to prevail will be be able to safeguard the dignity of each and everyone. More importantly, respect should always start at home—here in our own country,” De Guia said.