October 27, 2020
The Blas F. Ople Policy Center, a non-profit organization that assists overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are victims of exploitation and human trafficking, expressed willingness to extend legal and livelihood assistance to the domestic worker of Philippine Ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro who has been recalled for the alleged maltreatment of her household staff.
Susan Ople, former labor undersecretary and president of the policy center, said it would always be the personal decision of the abused worker whether to pursue a case, both criminally and administratively, against her employer.
“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,” Ople said.
The Ople Center came to the aid of a domestic worker in Kuwait who suffered sexual harassment at the hands of an incumbent ambassador. “Under the previous administration, that administrative case dragged on for more than two years. We hope and pray that this does not happen under the Duterte Administration considering how vocal Foreign Affairs Secretary Locsin is when it comes to migrant workers’ rights.”
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 that it would be difficult for Ambassador Mauro to refute what was clearly featured in a news report of a 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? 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,” the Ople Center said.
The Center said that the aggrieved household staff of Ambassador Mauro can contact mobile # 09618114288 and look for case handler Jenny Sespene or she can message Miss Ople via Facebook: www.facebook.com/susan.ople.