Gabriela sets Tulfo straight
Ramon Tulfo specifically accused me and my party-list Gabriela of “riding on the hot issue of exploitation of female workers in embassy refugee centers.” (Metro, 6/22/13)
I am a member of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs and I was among those who joined an onsite congressional hearing in the Middle East, to look into the plight of migrant workers stranded in embassy shelters. I have filed various resolutions during the 14th and 15th Congresses addressing the various concerns of overseas Filipino workers. These concerns range from the involvement of embassy and labor officials in human trafficking, to overcrowded OFW shelters in the Middle East, to the rude reception and responses of embassy officials when it comes to OFWs seeking assistance, to the OFWs facing legal cases as well as those on death row, among others. And I assisted as best as I could in the return of distressed OFWs.
Without fanfare, I joined Migrante members on a trip to Taiwan to check on the condition of a Filipino woman on death row, and to Sabah to follow up on the issue of Filipino undocumented workers.
As early as 2005, Gabriela Women’s Alliance, Migrante and Gabriela Women’s Party already documented “sex-for-flight” cases. We called attention to a supposed fund-raising event conducted by embassy officials, raffling off distressed and stranded migrant women to participants.
At the core of Gabriela Women’s Party’s advocacies is the upliftment of marginalized Filipino women. This advocacy tasks us not only to engage in crafting legislation, in opposing policies deemed detrimental to poor women, but also to provide services as much as our limited resources as a party list will allow women victims of violence, abuse and injustice, including distressed and violated Filipino migrant women. For us to remain silent on the issue of prostituted migrant workers would be a disservice to women and the abandonment of our cause.
But to accuse Gabriela Women’s Party of merely “riding on another popular issue while ignoring the plight of other women in distress” would be irresponsible, baseless and malicious. Needless to say, it is an abuse of the privilege accorded to columnists like Tulfo.
We acknowledge the important role of media, of reporters and columnists in educating the public. And as effective channels of free speech. It is with such recognition that we appeal for responsibility, fairness and accuracy and the practice of self-regulation in mass media.
—REP. LUZVIMINDA C. ILAGAN,
Gabriela Women’s Party,
House of Representatives,
Batasan Complex, Constitution Hills, QC
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