Senators seek probe on PH envoy to Brazil accused of mistreating service staff

Robie de Guzman   •   October 28, 2020   •   740

MANILA, Philippines – Some senators are seeking a thorough investigation into the alleged maltreatment of a Filipino household worker by Philippine Ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri and Senator Joel Villanueva both expressed outrage, calling the actions of the country’s envoy “deplorable” and “conduct unbecoming a diplomat official.”

Mauro was caught on CCTV maltreating her unidentified Filipina service staff on several occasions.

The video footage was shown on the Brazilian news channel GloboNews last Sunday and was picked up by international news organizations.

“While watching the video, I was horrified to see the brazenness of our ambassador to Brazil in physically maltreating the embassy service staff. I cannot imagine how people in her position could enact such violence to the very people they are sworn to protect,” Zubiri said in a statement.

“How can we demand foreign employers of our OFWs, especially domestic helpers, to respect their rights and not maltreat them, when the very people who are supposed to protect and defend them abroad are the ones abusing them? This is such a terrible incident and a black eye on our image abroad,” he added.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has ordered Mauro to return to the Philippines and explain the matter.

Zubiri called on the DFA to immediately conduct an investigation and “prosecute the official if found violating labor laws and the Kasambahay Law.”

Villanueva also condemned the incident, stressing that the country’s embassies should be taking care of the welfare of Filipinos overseas.

“The incident should also serve notice to the diplomatic service that ‘as representatives of our country to a foreign land, one is expected to protect the well-being of our people starting with the ones at their own backyards,’” Villanueva added.

The senator also urged the DFA to examine existing grievance mechanisms in our posts to ensure that Filipinos have immediate recourse to the department’s head office in Maninla when incidents such as this happen to prevent its recurrence and escalation.

“This incident must give focus on what kind of grievance procedure our Embassies provide our OFWs. The DFA should recheck if there is an active system that actually works in providing protection to OFWs and any case of abuse and maltreatment does not go unchecked,” he said.

DFA warns vs ‘travel exemption fee’ scam targeting foreigners

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 11, 2020

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday warned the public against a travel fee scam targeting foreign nationals who wish to enter the Philippines amid imposed travel restrictions.

In an advisory the DFA said they received reports of a “travel exemption fee” that supposedly allows the entry of foreign nationals into the country.

The DFA reiterated that it does not collect such fees “or any kind of fee whatsoever for the purpose of allowing foreign nationals to enter the country.”

“Foreign nationals should be guided by the latest advisory of the Bureau of Immigration as to who are allowed to enter the Philippines during the State of Public Health Emergency,” the advisory reads.

The foreign affairs department also said travel restrictions are still being implemented in the country amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. AAC

DFA Consular Office in Legazpi, Albay suspends operations until Nov. 12

Marje Pelayo   •   November 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) informs the public that its Consular Office in Legazpi, Albay will be closed on Wednesday (November 11), due to inclement weather brought by Tropical Storm Ulysses.

The announcement is in line with Disaster Risk Reduction Management/ Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility (DRRM/CCAM) Council Advisory No. 25 s. 2020 of the city government of Legazpi.

The Consular Office – Legazpi will resume its regular operations on Thursday (November 12), unless otherwise advised.

In view of this, affected applicants with confirmed appointments who are unable to avail of consular services due to the suspension of operations must secure another appointment by emailing the Consular Office at legazpi.rco@dfa.gov.ph with the following information:

– Name

– Date of birth

– Original appointment date and time

– Preferred date and time of new appointment

The preferred new appointment may be on any working day from Monday to Friday from November 12 to December 11 during the Consular Office regular operation hours from 10:00AM to 5:00PM.

Applicants who need an emergency or urgent consular service may email the Consular Office  at legazpi.rco@dfa.gov.ph. 

Formal charge served vs ex-PH envoy to Brazil over alleged staff mistreatment — Locsin

Robie de Guzman   •   November 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A formal charge has been served on former Philippine Ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro over her alleged acts of abuse against her Filipina household service staff, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Monday.

On his Twitter account, Locsin said the formal charge was served on Mauro on Monday morning and that he has already informed President Rodrigo Duterte about it.

“Charge served on her at 8:25 a.m. today. I sent a Memo to the President on it,” he said.

“The Hearing Panel’s report and charge will be passed upon and approved/disapproved by the Board of Foreign Service Administration; and finally by the Secretary. It shouldn’t take too long,” he added.

Mauro returned to the Philippines last week after she was recalled from her post following the release of video footage showing her berating and mistreating her household staff.

Locsin earlier said he has formed a panel to look into the series of alleged physical abuse that Mauro committed against her household helper.

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