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Philippine News Digest 51

March 6, 2003 · 

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Contents:

  • Senate to conduct probe on German national
  • World celebrates International Women’s Day
  • Asian, European nations fight sex trade

Senate to conduct probe on German national

The Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights is set to conduct a senate investigation on the case of German national Harry Joost, a suspected sex offender, who is also purportedly wanted for other crimes allegedly committed in Germany after the PREDA Foundation brought the matter to the attention of its chairman Senator Francis Pangilinan. The senator also expressed interest on the “alleged corruption of certain Bureau of Immigration (BI) officials who apparently fail to take action against Mr. Joost because of the bribes paid them.” The senator, however, has sought an explanation from the BI on the progress of the government’s action on the case before any senate investigation is conducted.

World celebrates International Women’s Day

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day on March 8, women continue to face class oppression and gender discrimination specially in the developing world. In the Philippines, feudal and patriarchal structures are deeply embedded. Women occupy subordinate positions and are held responsible for reproductive work, the replenishment of labor, and all the related housework. Under globalization, the commodification, exploitation and oppression of women have intensified. According to a study by the Center for Women’s Resources, the unemployment rate of women increased from 9.9% to 10.3% in 2001. Fifty-two percent of those employed were in the informal sector as own account workers or unpaid family labor while the remaining 48% suffer from the implementation of contractualization schemes such as job and service contracting. In the workplace, they also face sexual discrimination and harassment as virginity tests are reportedly required for some women and no benefits are available to contract workers. There is also a marked preference for young single women workers and a bias against married women. Women and children are also the hardest hit by militarization. Displaced from the countryside, they are forced into prostitution. International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates put the figure of prostituted women in the Philippines at 600,000- the biggest in the world- 100,000 of these are children. Source: www.ibon.org.

Asian, European nations fight sex trade

Representatives from the Philippines, China, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Italy gathered in Makati City, Philippines on March 3 for a two-day summit dubbed “Asia-Europe Experts Meeting” to plan a unified strategy against the rising incidence of Asian children being marketed as sex slaves. In her speech at the opening ceremony Philippine Justice Undersecretary Merceditas Gutierrez said globalization and technological advancement, which have spawned organized crimes against children, exacerbated the sex trade. British Ambassador Paul Diamond said judicial systems should protect children and also make sure that children were “not victimized as they passed through that systems.” In another development, a member of the US Air Force Chad Everett Scheller, 27, will be deported by the Bureau of Immigration after the US embassy sought the assistance of the government agency. Scheller was sentenced to 10 years probation in 2001 after pleading guilty to two counts of sexual assault in Texas. Source: Michael Lim Ubac and Blanche S. Rivera, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 4 March 2003.

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