Locsin hit for 'unprofessional' behavior vs protestors, OFW families

Ratziel San Juan - Philstar.com
Locsin hit for 'unprofessional' behavior vs protestors, OFW families
Locsin initially challenged the crowd to try to beat him up before giving an assurance that migrant Filipino workers stranded in the Middle East would be brought home.
Photo courtesy of College Editors Guild of the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has been criticized by a labor organization that monitors overseas Filipino workers following his tirade at a protest in front of the Department of Foreign Affairs on Friday.

The crowd of protesters claimed the United States is instigating a war again in the Middle East after its airstrike killed top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani in Iraq last week, triggering regional tension that has since apparently de-escalated.

“O sige, bugbugin niyo ako (Go, beat me up),” Locsin said, taunting protestors before reassuring that the government is doubling efforts to evacuate OFWs in the Middle East.

"Kahit na wala nang gera (Even if there’s no more war). In spite of that, there will be a massive repatriation effort to bring our people back home.”

The Saudi Arabian chapter of Migrante International said Locsin's behavior is inexcusable and unbecoming of the country's top diplomat.

“Sa halip na harapin ng maayos ng DFA Secretary at ipaliwanag nito Repatriation Plan ng Duterte administration, nag amok pa ito at binastos ang mga mamamayang nag hahapag ng kanilang hinaing sa ahensya,” the migrant workers group said in a statement.

(Instead of the DFA Secretary approaching the protesters calmly and explaining the Duterte administration’s Repatriation Plan, he behaved wildly and mistreated citizens who were forwarding their grievances to the government agency.)

Migrante-Canada also said that Locsin’s behavior is unnecessary since the protesters and the families of affected OFWs were only asking for answers to legitimate concerns.

“It is unacceptable for Locsin, or for any public servant, to show his arrogance when he yelled at the protesters and OFW families and challenged them to beat him up...the hostile secretary only showcased his utter ignorance about how diplomacy works, setting a dangerous precedent if his deplorable behavior is emulated by the wide following he claims for the government’s actions.”

The group also clarified the demands of the protesters to the DFA.

“At the rally, Migrante International and its allies expressed their concern over the militarization of the evacuation mission in Iraq led by retired general, now environment secretary, Roy Cimatu. The Philippines’ deployment of two battalions of combatants shows a message incongruent with the objective to take care of the welfare of [OFWs] in the Middle East.”

“This move only puts our OFWs in more danger, knowing that all armed personnel are a legitimate target in an armed conflict situation. What our 1,600 kababayans and their dependents need in this time of crisis are health and well-being professionals and practitioners, translators and diplomatic personnel to help them in the process of safe repatriation.”

The mandatory repatriation has commenced as of Saturday morning, with Special Envoy to the Middle East Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu in Qatar facilitating evacuations on the ground.

The first batch of evacuees at the Philippine Embassy in Iraq is set for Qatar from where they will be transported to Manila on Sunday.










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