‘Major, major blunder’: OFWs shouldn’t suffer from police, gov’t lapses in hostage tragedy

Migrante International chairperson Garry Martinez today said that overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Hong Kong should not be made to bear the brunt for police and government incompetence in yesterday’s Manila hostage tragedy.

“We express our sincerest condolences to the families and friends of the victims. Alam po namin kung gaano kasakit ang maranasang sinusundo ang isang mahal sa buhay na nakakahon at isang malamig na bangkay na,” Martinez said.

The migrant leader said that they, together with members of the Filipino community in Hong Kong, are in unity with calls of the Hong Kong government and nationals demanding justice for the victims and accountability for lapses of the Manila police and the Philippine government.

“Heads must roll for the deaths and measures should be urgently enacted to heal strained diplomatic relations. For our OFWs, what happened was a ‘major, major blunder’ of the Aquino administration. Our OFWs in Hong Kong and elsewhere should not be in any way obliged to defend what was clearly an unorganized and incompetent handling of the hostage crisis,” Martinez said.

He also called on the Philippine government to “ensure at all costs that the rights and welfare of our OFWs in Hong Kong are not jeopardized.”

Hindi dapat pagbayaran ng ating mga OFWs ang kapalpakan ng gobyerno sa naganap na trahedya. We demand to hear concrete measures by the Philippine government and the Philippine consulate in Hong Kong to prevent untoward incidents from happening to our kababayans. Mangyayari lamang ito kung maagap na mapapanagot ang mga nagkulang.”

Martinez also appealed to the Filipino community in Hong Kong to stay calm and be vigilant.

So far, the Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong has reported at least one (1) OFW whose contract was pre-maturely terminated by an employer as a result of the tragedy. He said that he fears that tension and emotions would be more intense once the bodies of the victims arrive in Hong Kong later today.

There are more than 150,000 Filipinos working in Hong Kong, most of them domestic workers. ###

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