THE Senate accepted in plenary Wednesday an intensive report on the two-year “Pastillas rip-off” inquiry on Bureau of Immigration anomalies submitted by Senate probers .
“In the present day, the Committee on Ladies, Youngsters, Household Relations and Gender Equality writes finis to greater than two years of investigation on what we now know because the pastillas rip-off,” Sen. Risa Hontiveros reported at Wednesday’s session.
Recalling that the inquiry began with a easy purpose, Hontiveros reminded that Senate Decision No. 131 was “filed within the wake of steady media stories on prostitution rings being busted by legislation enforcement brokers.”
“These prostitution rings have been discovered to be serving a largely Chinese language clientele, many or most of whom working in numerous POGO outfits,” she mentioned, referring to Philippine Abroad Gaming Operators, including: “Proteksyon ng mga kababaihan at kabataan ang aming pakay. Dalawang taon rin ang inabot natin imbestigasyong ito, dahil kada salang natin ay could natutuklasan tayong bagong ebidensya [We started out with protecting women and youth. This investigation took two years, because each time we called a hearing, we wold uncover more evidence].”
The senator recalled that “we have been already shocked by the extent of the proof,” including in Filipino, “We obtained display screen pictures from the WeChat app, the place girls can be in comparison with automobiles or to tea. As we noticed within the video, we additionally realized that it’s not merely girls, however minors, who have been victimized on this flesh commerce.”
She added that “in keeping with Alias Carina, she was recruited in October of 2019, together with one different underaged buddy, to carry out so-called “therapeutic massage companies” for Chinese language prospects. The minimal quantity was P6,000 or what they name “gosak” (in some way a corruption of “sakto”).”
In keeping with her, “the quantity will increase if they’re requested to spend the evening or carry out additional companies,” including how the youngest sufferer, aged 14, bought contaminated with “STD’ [sexually transmitted disease] as a result of one buyer paid her additional so he gained’t should put on a condom. It was this 14-year-old who tipped off police, setting off the occasions that led to the rescue of the trafficked girls.
The senator additionally recalled that after some weeks one other one alias Ivy, a 23 year-old Taiwanese went to the identical workplace pondering she can be working at an advert company, however which turned out to be for a supplier of POGO-related intercourse “companies.” Her passport was taken away, stopping her from “escaping” as their boss was harassing her, Hontiveros recalled, including that Ivy complained how, every time her boss would scold her, he would drop the title of 1 Michael Yang. Proper now, “Ivy mentioned she is safely again in Taiwan, with due to the help of the Manila Financial and Cultural Workplace (MECO),” mentioned the senator.
However the game-changing level of the pastillas inquiry got here with the testimony of immigration officer Alex Chiong, who actually “walked in” to her workplace, and divulged the huge corruption of bureau personnel to permit free entry even of unqualified, largely Chinese language staff. The bribes got inside rolled up paper, therefore, the title “pastillas”—a reference to a well-liked native Filipino sweet made from milk and sugar.