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.
We'll prepare for their repatriation pronto. Deeply disgusted with HK wch begged us to let domestic workers return to work. I extracted promise from Chinese ambassador that they'd be given same protection from COVID-19 as HK residents. I shoulda specified "from Hongkongers." https://t.co/3Ly1CHCfCm— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) March 3, 2020
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.
(1) The PHL Consulate-POLO-OWWA are helping 40 displaced HK OFW domestic workers. 35 of 40 job terminations were by the employer. 16 of 35 such employer terminations due to employers' relocation. HK Immigration Law allows the OFW to transfer to another employer, w/o leaving HK.— hans leo j. cacdac (@HansLeoCacdac) March 3, 2020
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.
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