30 August 2021
The latest Hong Kong government’s stringent specifications substantiate serious stumbling blocks for desperate OFWs who have been struggling in Metro Manila in the hope of finally being allowed entry into the territory today, August 30. They have persevered for months, some even years, despite the absence of financial relief from the Duterte administration which remains deaf and dumb to their pleas.
Coping with the cost of living in the city, on top of paying onerous government and recruitment agency fees, these stranded OFWs’ miseries are aggravated by paying for the compulsory Yellow Card which is another money making scheme of the Bureau of Quarantine.
The long awaited announcement for stranded of overseas workers was meant to ease their anxieties to finally gain employment to support their families. Instead, the daunting requirements have intensified their sufferings from the Duterte government’s neglect and abandonment from the daunting demands of the Hong Kong government.
For instance, only one quarantine hotel that can accommodate 409 arriving FDWs coming from the Philippines and Indonesia has been designated to lump them together obviously segregating them from non-FDWs? This action by the Hong Kong authorities is discriminatory and another proof of social segregation. This policy of isolating foreign domestic workers has been evident at a time when the HK immigration fixed a separate lane for arriving FDWs.
A more serious concern is the high cost of hotel quarantine for 21 days. It is a fact that many HK employers come from the middle class society; thus for them HK$18,000 is a huge amount to shoulder. It is possible that this will be passed on to the workers who still experience paying for agency fees supposedly to be paid by employers.
Migrante International has launched on online urgent appeal for the Stranded HK-bound OFWs #AyudaParaSaStrandedOFWs and #LibrengYellowCardParaSaOFWs. The urgent appeal seeks to alleviate the dire economic situation which costs their stay in Metro Manila up to twenty thousand pesos monthly. The concerned workers have managed to post the appeal on their own social media account in the hope of reaching out to their respective local governments and other generous advocates.
The brazen abandonment and neglect of the Duterte government for the stranded OFWs persists even if they are claiming to provide financial assistance. Meantime, government agencies continue to amass anomalous funds covered up by Malacanang obviously to prepare for President Duterte’s plans in the 2022 elections.
The collective action of all OFWs is imperative in the pursuit of true social and economic change. No more patronage politics! No more political dynasties! Stop corruption! Stop Discrimination and Social Segregation! We are Workers, We are not Slaves!