Migrante challenges Duterte gov’t to back the call of domestic helpers in Hong Kong for HK$5,500 minimum wage

Migrante challenged the Duterte government to intercede on behalf of Hong Kong based Filipino household workers in their calls for a $5,500 minimum wage and a $2,500 monthly food allowance which were turned down by the Hong Kong government this week.

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“Dito tunay na masusukat ang malasakit ni Duterte sa mga OFW. The wage increase has long been overdue especially at a time when their families back home are reeling from the peso depreciation and inflation.  Kung hindi pa sa sama-samang pagkilos at pagigiit ng mga DH sa Hong Kong, napako na sana ang kanilang sahod sa US$400 na itinakda sa ilalim ng ‘Supermaid’ program ni Gloria Arroyo noong October 2006,” Migrante International spokesperson Arman Hernando said.

Way back in 2016, Migrant groups in Hong Kong submitted to the Duterte administration their “Hongkong Migrants Agenda” which laid out their collective demands including the call for wage increase but there has never been any considerable action on the part of President Duterte, Hernando lamented.

In 2007, the minimum allowable wage in Hong Kong was only at HK$3,480. Since then, it has only been going up at a yearly average of less than HK$100 as “meager adjustments” made by the HK government to inflation and as their “token response” to the clamor of domestic workers, according to Migrante.

Starting today, the new minimum allowable wage is at HK$4,520 while the monthly food allowance goes up by HK$22 to HK$1,075 a month. These amounts are still far from the HK$5,500 minimum wage and the HK$2,500 monthly food allowance demanded by domestic workers in Hong Kong. They were hopeful that the approval of the HK$5,500 amount will make their minimum wage at least reasonably closer to Hong Kong’s living wage of HK$9,828.

Yesterday, different migrant groups in Hong Kong castigated the $110 monthly wage increase and the measly additional $22 food allowance for foreign domestic workers, calling it an “insult.”

Eman Villanueva of the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body said, “It’s because the government keeps insisting on making ‘affordability’ (or the capability of an employer to hire a domestic helper) a factor in determining how much we should make in a month. But what about the migrant worker’s right to earn a living wage?”

Migrante vowed to heighten its actions in pushing the Philippine government to address their call to end the imposition of “slave wage” rates to Filipino domestic workers worldwide.

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