August 24, 2021
After long months of arduous struggles to convince both governments of Hong Kong and Philippines to heed on the demands of stranded OFWs to allow them to work in Hong Kong, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong finally made her official announcement this morning. The announcement allowed Foreign Domestic Workers from Philippines and Indonesia, both categorized by Hong Kong as high-risk countries or Group A. However, they will be required to undergo 21-day quarantine upon entry to the. special administrative region and the number of entries will be controlled.
Although a special arrangement has been reached between the HK and Philippine governments to recognize the FDWs’ vaccination records, the fact remains that upon entry to Hong Kong, these workers will undergo quarantine for 21 days. This could dissuade employers from hiring helpers from abroad aside from the high cost in hotel quarantine.
Stranded HK-bound OFWs have struggled to comply with the requirements for their gainful employment after years of waiting and burying themselves in debt. To make matters worse, they were totally abandoned and neglected by the Duterte government whose only goal is to continue the labor export business together with the recruitment agencies.
It’s also quite outrageous for the Bureau of Quarantine to charge OFWs 370 pesos for issuance of a yellow card to prove vaccination records to the HK government knowing that these stranded OFWs who came from far flung provinces need to spend for rent, food, transportation and other basic needs in Metro Manila. Their personal expenses have already reached an average of P20,000 per month or more. Furthermore, they have already incurred debt in the tens of thousands just to process their papers and visa to work.
Through the Migrante International, these desperate OFWs aired their grievances and sought urgent financial relief from the government while they await deployment to Hong Kong. They have bravely spoken out and shared their miserable conditions on social media.The Hong Kong bound OFWs vows to continue with their campaign to demand that the BOQ fee of P370 for OFWs will be scrapped. Likewise, they also demand for immediate cash relief or ayuda while they are still in the Philippines waiting for their departure and for this government to implement a more scientific approach in addressing this pandemic through mass testing, massive contract tracing and quicker delivery of supplies of vaccines all over the country.
We have no one to blame for our continued misery but President Duterte for his continued failure in addressing this pandemic and abandonment of its people and the OFWs. Since he cannot help our OFWs, then he must resign immediately in the best interest for our migrant workers. ###