Groups file complaint vs PhilHealth exec over lap dance during birthday bash
The complaint was received by Atty. Dennis Mosquera, Regional Director ng Region IV-B (4th from right), and investigator (seated). Also present was CHR Gender Equality and Women’s Human Rights Coordinator Atty. Twyla Rubin (3rd from right).

Groups file complaint vs PhilHealth exec over lap dance during birthday bash

(Philstar.com) - November 23, 2020 - 7:15pm

MANILA, Philippines — Women and labor organizations filed a complaint before the Commission on Human Rights against an official of the state-run health insurer who allegedly received a lap dance inside his office during his birthday celebration

Eight groups asked the CHR to investigate Philippine Health Insurance Corp. Vice President Paolo Johann Perez and employees of the agency’s Calabarzon office. A report of the Senate blue ribbon committee in August found that Perez received a “gift” from his staff—a “girl” in her underwear who danced and gyrated provocatively in front of Perez.

The complainants alleged that Perez and several regional office employees violated Republic Act 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women. CHR, as the country’s gender and development ombud, is responsible for investigation and complaints of discrimination and violations of rights under the Magna Carta of Women.

They stressed that the purchase of a woman by PhilHealth employees and the condonation of such act by Perez fundamentally illustrates that “women as a group can be treated as commodities who can be bought and used as entertainment for sexual pleasure.”

“In this instance as in many normalized instances of treating women as gifts to men and their portrayal as always sexually available to men, women’s rights to be treated equal in dignity is violated,” Jean Enriquez, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Asia Pacific, said in a release.

“Women and girls are reluctant to report sexual violence because of fear of being blamed since public officials normalize sexual objectification,” Ana Maria Nemenzo, Women Health Philippines national coordinator, also said.

Violation of RA 6713

The PhilHealth official and employees also violated RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, the groups said. RA 6713 states that public officials and employees shall discharge their duties with utmost responsibility, integrity, competence and loyalty, act with patriotism and justice, lead modest lives, and uphold public interest over personal interest.

“RA 6713 also states that government resources and powers of their respective offices must be employed and used efficiently, honestly and economically, thus the use of PhilHealth office to display utter disregard for women’s rights should be accounted for,” said Judy Ann Chan Miranda, secretary general of Partido Manggagawa.

Other complainants were Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa, Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan, Center for Migrant Advocacy, and the Foundation for Media Alternatives.

The world will commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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