OFW group troops to DOLE, demands recall of rude HK attache

Migrante International today trooped to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to demand the recall of Hong Kong Labor Attache Romulo Salud.

The protest action came in light of the deadline set by the agency after it formed a fact-finding committee to probe the abusive behavior of Salud towards Filipina domestic worker Agnes Tenorio. The fact finding went to Hong Kong yesterday to investigate and is set to forward their recommendations to DOLE today.

Salud received flak from overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong and around the world after his rude treatment of an OFW in distress. His verbal lashing was caught on audio recording by Filipina domestic helper Agnes Tenorio.

Tenorio, a first-time domestic worker in Hong Kong, sought the help of the Philippine Consulate General last September 29 after her contract was illegally terminated by her employer barely two hours after she arrived at her employer’s house. She was referred there to Salud. Confused and unaware of her options, her initial reaction to the experience was to go back home to the Philippines. Salud did not give her advice nor informed her of her rights and instead conveniently agreed to her kneejerk request.

She, however, learned afterwards from other OFWs that she is allowed under law to file claims for her unpaid wages at the HK Labor Department as well as complain her employer for illegal termination of contract. With these new knowledge at hand, Tenorio went back to see Salud on October. It was then the recording took place. Its release to the public has then caused a stir in the international Filipino community.

For her part, Migrante Secretary-General Gina Esguerra said that they supported calls to recall Salud. “We call on DOLE to do what is righteous and just. Our OFWs deserve the utmost respect especially from government officials.

“Let this serve as a lesson to all erring and negligent government officials. Walang karapatan itong si Salud o sinumang kawani ng gobyerno sa mga embahada na tanggihan, bastusin at pabayaan ang ating mga OFW, lalo na’t sila ay nangangailangan. They also have the responsibility to inform them of their rights and options at hindi iyang gumagalaw lang to their convenience.”

Esguerra said that cases like these are “not new.” “We have received numerous complaints against labor attaches and embassy officials and personnel but sadly none have been sanctioned. What they do when the complaints become resounding is either they transfer them back to the Philippines or to another post.” Salud was formerly an official of the MECO in Taiwan.

Esguerra said that they are studying possible charges to file against Salud and other erring and negligent embassy officials. ##