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Unifil-Migrante HK says Bello out to malign Dela Torre

27 September 2019

By The SUN
Unifl-Migrante HK was among several Filcom organizations that protested against Bello's attempt to recall Dela Torre early last year 

One of the biggest alliances of migrant workers groups in Hong Kong has accused Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello of ill motive in alluding corruption to a deal entered into by former Labor Attache Jalilo dela Torre four months before he was recalled from his post.

United Filipinos in Hong Kong said in a statement released a few hours ago: “We believe the accusation is unfounded, and is only meant to malign Labatt Dela Torre. We see it as part of a grandiose plan of the Duterte administration to remove pro-OFW government officials who genuinely serve Filipinos not only in HK but also in other parts of the world.”
Further on, Unifil said: “We know that the accusations against Dela Torre are part of a continuing attack on him by rogue agencies and sex traffickers angered by his decision to turn down their applications for work permits for their victims.

In a statement released a day earlier, Bello announced the scrapping of the agreement meant to upgrade the contract processing system at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office, calling it a “midnight deal”, and ordering a probe of Dela Torre.

Bello cited as proof of irregularity the alleged lack of public bidding for the project.
Dela Torre responded by asserting that four groups were asked to present proposals for the project, and the winning bidder, Polaris Tools Limited, was selected by a panel made up of three POLO officers, including him.

Dela Torre asked why Bello chose to side with a group of shadowy employment agencies which complained about the deal, and why he was not given the benefit of refuting the allegation.
He is said to be contemplating legal action to counter Bello’s implicit allegation of corruption against him.

In affirming support for Dela Torre, Unifil-Migrante recalled its decision to bestow a “Tanggol Manggagawa” award to the embattled labor official for showing genuine concern to Filipino migrant workers, especially those victimized by unscrupulous recruitment agencies and traffickers.



“Labatt Dela Torre has been in public service for more than 30 years, and his integrity has never been questioned, until now,” said Unifil-Migrante’s statement.

“He does not deserve to be the target of false accusations and malicious innuendos. Instead, those who are accusing him now should be investigated and their ill motives exposed.”

UNIFIL-MIGRANTE HK’S STATEMENT:


United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK) questions the motive behind Secretary Silvestre Bello III's  accusation that former HK Labor Attache Jalilo dela Torre negotiated a “midnight deal” with a systems provider for the Philippine Overseas Labor Office.

We believe the accusation is unfounded, and is only meant to malign Labatt Dela Torre. We see it as part of a grandiose plan of the Duterte administration to remove pro-OFW government officials who genuinely serve Filipinos not only in HK but also in other parts of the world.

Dela Torre may not have been overtly critical of the anti-migrant policies of the government due to his position as a civil servant, but he has shown his genuine concern for Filipino migrant workers, especially those victimized by unscrupulous recruitment agencies and the policies of our own government.

We know that the accusations against Dela Torre are part of a continuing attack on him by rogue agencies and sex traffickers angered by his decision to turn down their applications for work permits for their victims.

It is in this context that we, from United Filipinos in HK, a progressive alliance and one of the longest extant alliances in HK, reiterate our support for Dela Torre. We showed this first when we awarded him with our “Tanggol Manggagawa” award, an honor we rarely confer on individuals, much less government officials.

This was after we saw how he comforted and cared for OFWs in HK even during his days off. We saw how much time he put in his work, and how scrupulous he was in dealing with groups or companies that would have put his office and his name in a bad light.

Labatt Dela Torre has been in public service for more than 30 years, and his integrity has never been questioned, until now.

He does not deserve to be the target of false accusations and malicious innuendos. Instead, those who are accusing him now should be investigated and their ill motives exposed.
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