(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Forty per cent of foreign men visiting the Philippines are sex tourists, the US ambassador on Manila said on Thursday in comments that were quickly disputed by the government.
US Ambassador Harry Thomas told a forum of Filipino judges and officials that corrupt officials were involved in a very visible sex trade, and challenged the legal profession to eliminate the "scourge".
"We know that 40 per cent of foreign men who come to the Philippines, including from the US, come for sexual tourism. That is not something I'm proud of.
That's not something you should be proud of," Thomas said. He highlighted a high profile string of karaoke bars and clubs along Roxas Boulevard, one of Manila's main roads on which the US embassy is also located, alleging they were infamous sex establishments. Nevertheless, the government immediately sought to downplay Thomas's remarks.
"Certainly that is something we would like to dispute. We are not sure where his statistics are coming from," tourism assistant secretary Domingo Enario told AFP.