SOME overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Sydney, Australia are not pleased with how politicians and groups not allied with the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte try to project the image of the Philippines to the international community and they made sure minority Sen. Risa Hontiveros got the message.
In her recent meeting with the Filipino community held at the Philippine Consulate Office in Sydney, which was posted on the Internet, Hontiveros was asked by an OFW on how they can help improve the image of the Philippines when there are people including the senator who keep on trying to malign the country before the world.
The OFW, who identified herself as Luwalhati, particularly cited Hontivero’s recent demand on Duterte for him to allow the United Nations to come to the Philippines and investigate reported unexplained killings in the country.
She was referring to a recent statement of Hontiveros urging the Duterte administration to invite representatives of the UN and the European Union to verify allegations of extrajudicial killings in the country.
“Where is the honor in that? How can we be honorable when we malign our own community, our own people and suggesting that there are crimes going on done by the government against its own people?” Luwalhati asked Hontiveros.
She said it is unfair for OFWs all over the world who are doing their best to help change the image of Filipinos and the Philippines before the international community and yet there are elected officials like her who continuously try to bring the country down.
“We are the ones who are directly affected. We are in the frontline and we have to put up with that,” Luwalhati added.
“You’re a senator so people will listen to you whether we like it or not, so how can we change the image [of the Philippines]if there are people who keep on destroying it,” she said.
Hontiveros reacted by saying she only urged the government to invite representatives from the United Nations to visit the country and investigate, not demand they they be allowed to enter the Philipines.
She added that figures on drug-related deaths were based on data of the Philippine National Police wherein 60 percent of deaths were from legitimate police operations while 40 percent were considered deaths under investigation (DUI).
Hontiveros, part of the Senate minority bloc, explained that she made the call for the government to invite the UN representatives because of earlier claims of the Duterte administration that the international community had been misled on the real score in the war on drugs.
“So that was the spirit of my statement urging government [to issue an invitation]and with all due respect also I’m not maligning [the government], it’s an attempt as a legislator to call the attention of the executive,” she pointed out.
She said as a member of a separate and co-equal branch of the government, it is her duty to point out things that may need correction or gap that may need filling by the executive.