PH senators tell US ambassador to say sorry for ’sexual tourism’ remark-or pack his bags
Inquirer.net reports that the country’s senators want US Ambassador Harry Thomas to produce evidence to back his statement that "40 percent of male tourists come to the Philippines for sex."
Last week, Thomas told a forum of Filipino judges and officials, "We know that 40 percent of foreign men who come to the Philippines, including from the US, come for sexual tourism." Thomas also said that corrupt government officials were involved in a very visible sex trade. He cited the karaoke bars and clubs along Roxas Boulevard.
Senator Panfilo Lacson raised the possibility that Thomas was misquoted. "Otherwise he should apologize to the Filipino people or pack his bags and go home for being tactless, offensive and undiplomatic," he said.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Senator Franklin Drilon challenged the ambassador to show proof that he was correct. Drilon said, "We dispute that statement, I certainly have not been shown the basis for that data. We challenge its correctness."
Enrile added his own argument. "We are not denying that there are American men who come to the Philippines to enjoy their life because Filipinas are attractive. There are also many foreigners going to America to have sex with American girls and boys. It works both ways. Even Filipinos go there to enjoy the beauty of American women," he said.
In any case, Enrile asked Thomas to reconsider his statement. "If I were Ambassador Thomas, I would think about what I had just said. If we say the same thing about his country, he would feel insulted," he said.
The Inquirer.net report noted that Senator Francis Escudero had earlier protested the timing of Thomas' statement because it coincided with President Benigno Aquino III's visit to the United States. Meawnhile, in her privilege speech, Senator Pia Cayetano reprimanded Malacañang for downplaying Thomas' claim instead of responding to it.
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