PH to bring home Filipinos fired from jobs in Hong Kong – DFA

Robie de Guzman   •   March 3, 2020   •   793

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is now preparing to repatriate Filipino workers who were fired from their jobs as a result of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Hong Kong, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said on Tuesday, March 3.

In a Twitter post, Locsin said they will prepare for the repatriation of Filipino workers “pronto.”

“Deeply disgusted with HK which begged us to let domestic workers return to work,” he said.

“I extracted promise from Chinese ambassador that they’d be given same protection from COVID-19 as HK residents. I shoulda specified “from Hongkongers,” he added.

In February, the Philippine government allowed Filipino workers to return to Hong Kong despite travel restrictions imposed on China and its territories hit by the coronavirus outbreak following appeals from Hong Kong and the workers themselves.

Locsin said he “stood up” for China “before the vicious West” at the ASEAN-COVID-19 meeting last month.

“I said that I begged my President to let Filipino domestic workers return to their jobs in HK showing my trust in the Chinese city. This I guess is thank you,” he said.

In a separate tweet, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said the Philippine Consulate is now helping 40 displaced Filipino domestic workers transfer to another employer in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong immigration law allows Filipino workers to transfer to another employer without leaving the territory.

Cacdac also reported that 35 of 40 cases of job terminations were initiated by the employers, 16 of which were due to the employers’ relocation.

He further stated that 12 of the 35 employer-initiated terminations were due to issues regarding taking rest days.

“PCG-POLO-OWWA is helping the concerned OFWs to file complaints in relation to a workers’ right to take days off,” he said, adding that they are also assisting Filipino workers with respect to computation or settlement of claims against employers.

According to Cacdac, most of the displaced workers due to employers’ relocation have returned home to await their new job visas.

He also assured that OWWA will provide livelihood or employment assistance to displaced Filipino workers who decided to permanently return home.

DOLE targets send off of remaining OFWs in quarantine facilities this week

Marje Pelayo   •   May 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is doubling its efforts to finally send off all the remaining overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in government quarantine facilities in Metro Manila.

To date, DOLE has sent around 19,000 OFWs and according to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, hopefully they will be able to send home the rest of them within this week.

Likewise, Bello apologized to all stranded OFWs for their prolonged stay in quarantine facilities. 

To address the matter, DOLE set up a command center at its central office in Manila to facilitate the gathering of all the necessary information regarding arriving OFWs.

Inaasahan natin with this center hindi na po mauulit ang nangyari sa ating mga minamahal sa buhay [We hope that with this center, what happened to our loved ones will not be repeated],” Bello said. 

“They do not deserve this to happen to them. And I repeat I am very sorry to our OFWs,” the Labor Chief added.

The command center is open 24/7 to accept inquiry and to assist all OFWs.

Also, inquiry may be directed to www.commancenter.dole.gov.ph.

Bello reported that there are still around 300,000 stranded OFWs in different parts of the globe, around 62,000 of them have signified their intention for repatriation. 

DOLE expects the arrival of some 42,000 OFWs by the end of May and June. 

Bello promised a faster quarantine process by administering COVID-19 tests to OFWs’ prior to their departure from their country of origin. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Nueva Ecija appeals to OWWA for better system on returning OFWs

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 28, 2020

The Nueva Ecija Provincial Government has appealed to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to have a better system on returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Atty. OJ Cornejo, officer-in-charge of the Provincial Assessor’s Office, said it has become a challenge for the provincial government to verify if the returning OFWs are negative of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

He said the OFWs do not have sufficient documents to prove that they have tested negative for COVID-19.

“Nag-message po ulit sila Sunday night na may uuwing dalawa pero wala pa iyong documents. Hindi pa nila pinapadala so hindi po ma-approve. We need to see po muna iyong negative result ng test and iyong quarantine certificate na nag-undergo na talaga quarantine iyong OFW (They sent a message Sunday night that two OFWs are returning but they have no documents yet. They haven’t sent it yet so it wasn’t approved. We first need to see the negative result of the test and the certificate that they underwent quarantine),” he said.

Nueva Ecija Governor Aurelio Umali said they need a more accurate list from OWWA so that they will be able to implement the proper safety protocols for returning OFWs.

“For instance pupunta pala ng Aurora pero Nueva Ecija ang nakalagay, so importante na makuha natin ang tamang listahan so that ang ating mga mayors, LGUs, will be able to prepare sa ating returning OFWs (For instance, they are going to Aurora but the document says Nueva Ecija. So it’s important for us to get the right list so that our mayors, LGU, will be able to prepare for our returning OFWs),” he said.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) previously reported that 24,000 OFWs will be returning to the country in the coming days and around 40,000 by next month. AAC (with reports from Danny Munar)

Hong Kong leader says security laws will not affect city’s rights and freedoms

UNTV News   •   May 26, 2020

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday (May 26) that Beijing’s proposed national security laws would not trample on the city’s rights and freedoms and called on its citizens to wait to see the details of the legislation.

Beijing unveiled plans last week for national security legislation for Hong Kong that aims to tackle secession, subversion and terrorist activities. It could see Chinese intelligence agencies set up bases in the city.

Thousands poured onto the street of Hong Kong on Sunday (May 24) in a mass protest against the planned new security laws.

Police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd and arrested almost 200 people.

More protests are expected in Hong Kong on Wednesday (May 27). (Reuters)

(Production: Joyce Zhou)

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