FOREIGN Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. is fuming mad about reports in several international media outlets of Filipina workers being sold and becoming victims of rape, abuse and imprisonment in Syria and Philippine Embassy officials hardly lifting a finger.
In a series of tweets Monday afternoon, Locsin said he could not believe embassy officials have not done anything to address the problem.
“What the hell was our f__ng embassy doing there? Oh hell, I will bring the necks of those in the Philippine Embassy in Damascus who failed to report this. My President will expect no less from me. Hell is coming,” Locsin said.
The story was carried by the Washington Post, the Anchorage Daily News as well as online news websites
Locsin said there were inaccuracies in the story but added it is not an excuse for “our failure to protect our people abroad.”
“No, wait this is an old story with inaccuracies. The full reaction of the DFA to this @washingtonpost article will be posted on Twitter. But that is not an excuse for our failure to protect our people abroad. That is the chief role of foreign affairs,” he added.
The news story quoted one of the victims, identified as Josephine Tawaging, who claimed she has been trapped in the war-torn country since 2019.
The report said dozens of Filipinas were recruited to work in the United Arab Emirates but have been trafficked instead to Syria as maids, and at times have been subjected to physical and sexual attacks by their employers and denied their salaries.
It added that 35 women have escaped from their employers and sought refuge at the Philippine Embassy in Damascus.
Syria has been wracked by civil war since 2011.
In an official statement, the DFA said they have taken the allegations seriously, and several of their personnel were investigated.
“Certain personnel have been administratively investigated and a human rights lawyer has been deployed to further look into the allegations of poor treatment of Filipino victims while under temporary shelter and to recommend other necessary actions to be taken,” it said.