MANILA— A Filipino domestic helper who experienced maltreatment in the hands of the Philippine Ambassador to Brazil has gained the support of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center.
The non-profit organization on Tuesday expressed willingness to extend legal and livelihood assistance to the 51-year-old domestic helper of Ambassador Marichu Mauro, who was immediately recalled after the incidents came to light.
“We just want her to know that our organization is willing to help her get through this, legally and even financially, because we know how difficult it is to be caught in a situation wherein you need to defend yourself against a person of authority, which in this case is no less than a Philippine ambassador,” said Susan Ople, head of the Ople Center.
The incident that happened inside the diplomatic residence was caught on CCTV footage.
In videos obtained by Brazil's Globonews, Mauro was seen slapping the victim, but stopped when another employee entered the house. The ambassador was also seen pulling the helper’s ear in another video, and hitting the helper with an umbrella in a separate incident.
The helper is back in the Philippines while the Brazil public defender has opened an investigation.
Ople, who was recently appointed to the UN Trust Fund to Help Victims of Human Trafficking as one of the members of the Board of Trustees, said it would be difficult for Mauro to refute what was clearly seen in a news report on the Brazilian network.
“The question remains: had that video not come out in the news, how much longer would the domestic worker have suffered? And in the middle of a global pandemic where the entire department has been working tirelessly and at great risk to their lives to repatriate thousands of OFWs, how could the ambassador even think of harming her own staff?” Ople said in a statement.
She added: “The ambassador should remember that she represents the Philippine flag, and that flag is well known throughout the world for being the voice of foreign domestic workers.”