Oxfam staff ‘cavorted at Cebu hotel with underage girls’ after Yolanda

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Oxfam
The Marco Polo hotel in Cebu City.

Oxfam staff who were sent to Cebu after Typhoon Yolanda spent weeks relaxing at a luxury hotel pool with girls who appeared underage, a British pilot has claimed.

Chris Jacobs told The London Standard that guests at the five-star Marco Polo hotel in Cebu City were disgusted by the sight of “older male staff” cavorting with girls who appeared to be only 14 or 15 years old.

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He said he even phoned Oxfam in the UK to complain about what he had seen, but heard nothing back from the charity.

The UK-based charity has recently been hit by claims that staff have routinely taken advantage of vulnerable women and children in disaster hit regions.

The alleged incident happened after Typhoon Yolanda left a trail of destruction in 2013, sparking an international relief effort.

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Mr Jacobs, a 44-year-old commercial airline pilot, decided to stay at the hotel with his wife Jo after their home in Bantayan was left without power.

“We spent several weeks after the typhoon hit helping to clear up Bantayan,” he said. “Once everyone was safe, and because the power supplies were still down, we decided to spend three weeks at the Marco Polo where we had stayed many times in the past.

“We were surprised to find a large contingent of Oxfam officials staying at the hotel. It is by far the best hotel in the area. They had brand-new Oxfam-branded vehicles in the car park but didn’t seem to travel to the areas that were badly hit.

“It was not in the area where the typhoon caused the worst damage and some of these Oxfam officials seemed to spend all their time by the pool with young local women. It was the older men who were the problem. A number of guests became upset because the girls looked 14 or 15. My wife Jo felt very uncomfortable about it.”

 

Mr Jacobs said guests believed the Oxfam officials were eventually asked to leave the Marco Polo after complaints by other guests. It is not known where they went after this.

 

The Standard asked Oxfam to comment on the claims. A spokeswoman said Mr Jacobs’s concerns had been referred to the charity’s Safeguarding team, which was investigating.

“While we can’t corroborate the allegations at this point, such behaviour is shocking and completely unacceptable,” she added.

“We can find no record of the allegations being raised at Oxfam headquarters previously — we can only apologise for not doing so. We are also investigating how a call of such a serious nature was not recorded and not acted upon. Such allegations should have been investigated immediately.”

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