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Asian domestic workers urge HK gov’t for a pay increase

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, March 15th, 2019

Hong Kong | Photo credit: Reuters

HONG KONG – The Asian Domestic Workers Union is urging the Hong Kong government to look into the condition of household workers in the country who suffer from what they call ‘modern day slavery.”

The group argued that the current policies deprive household workers time to rest.

“Most of migrant domestic workers here usually work for 12-16 hours a day,” said Niken Wulan, an Indonesian migrant worker.

“We just want a humane and equal treatment,” she added.

The group wants the government to increase the monthly salary of household workers’ minimum wage from HK$4,520 (P30,000) to HK$5,500 (P37,000).

The domestic workers’ union also wants increase in food allowances for those whose employers’ do not provide free meal.

Meanwhile, the group condemned the Hong Kong government’s failure to adopt the United Nation’s International Labor Organization Convention on Domestic Helpers No. 189 which protects the rights of household workers across the globe.

Foreign household workers in Hong Kong has increased to 350,000 in 2017.

Government statistics say such number is expected to boom to 600,000 in the year 2047. – Marje Pelayo (with details from Ferdie Petalio)

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Morales on getting held at Hong Kong airport: ‘It was bullying’

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

Former Philippine Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales upon her arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport after she was barred from entering Hong Kong on May 21, 2019.

MANILA, Philippines – Former Philippine Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has called her temporary “detention” at the Hong Kong International Airport a form of bullying, after immigration officials barred her from entering the country for a few hours on Tuesday afternoon.

“Yes, that was bullying. How do you call it if that’s not bullying? I think someone came up with the theory that shocked and awe daw. Hindi naman ako nasho-shock; hindi naman ako naa-awe. Nabubwisit lang,” Morales told reporters upon her arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) at past 10 p.m. Tuesday.

Morales, along with her family, arrived in Hong Kong airport at 12:20 p.m. for a vacation. Her husband, son, daughter-in-law and her grandchildren were allowed entry but Morales was stopped by immigration officials.

Philippine Deputy Consul General Germinia Aguilar-Usudan said the Hong Kong Immigration office did not provide the exact reason why Morales was barred entry.

“For the reason why she was not allowed immediate entry to Hong Kong, we were not given any reason by the immigration office,” she told UNTV News and Rescue in an interview.

READ: Ex-Ombudsman Morales temporarily held at HK airport

According to Morales, Hong Kong authorities told her she was being detained for “immigration reasons,” but refused to explain the grounds.

“They did not tell me anything about it. I was insisting they give me the ground. They said nothing,” she said.

Morales said that during her brief detention, she was asked by Hong Kong Immigration officials to sign a document but she refused to do so because parts of it were blanks.

“I read it and then it said ‘detention,’ and of course, the detention I was thinking of was behind bars,” she added.

With the help of Philippine Consulate officials, the former Ombudsman was eventually allowed entry at around 3 p.m. but she decided to just take the flight back to the Philippines.

“I was disappointed not because I was not allowed entry but because I was deprived of the opportunity to see my grandchildren enjoy their vacation in Hong Kong,” she said.

In March, Morales along with former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, filed a complaint of crimes against humanity against Chinese President Xi Jinping at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for purportedly damaging the resources at the disputed territory in West Philippine Sea through China’s ongoing reclamation activities in the area.

Morales said the incident at Hong Kong airport on Tuesday afternoon has further strengthened her resolve to proceed with the complaint she filed before the ICC.

Although she has yet to determine her next steps, Morales has vowed to remain resolute at speaking against Chinese policies despite the friendlier stance that the current administration has taken towards China. (with details from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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Thousands take to Hong Kong streets to protest new extradition laws

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, April 29th, 2019

Courtesy : Reuters

Thousands of people marched to Hong Kong’s legislative council on Sunday to protest against proposed extradition rules that would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial.

Some feared the move puts the city’s core freedoms at risk.

Opponents of the proposal fear further erosion of rights and legal protections in the free-wheeling financial hub — freedoms which were guaranteed under the city’s handover from British colonial rule to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.

Several thousand people had joined the march along Hong Kong island from Causeway Bay to the council in the Admiralty business district.

Protesters expressed fears that the new legislation would put ordinary Hong Kongers at risk.

“Once this law has been passed it won’t matter if you are an average person or a foreigner coming through Hong Kong, there will be a real possibility you’ll be taken and sent off to the mainland,” said Jayson Shing, a bank employee.

“It basically won’t matter whether you travel into the mainland. Just staying here in Hong Kong it’s hopeless anyway. The way they have organized this, as soon as they want to extradite you, it’s hopeless. The scariest thing is that in the mainland they can detain you via executive order, no crime is needed,” legal clerk Edward Wen said.

The peaceful marchers also chanted demands for Hong Kong’s executive Carrie Lam to step down, saying she had “betrayed” Hong Kong.

Many sported yellow umbrellas — the symbol of the Occupy civil disobedience movement that paralyzed parts of Hong Kong for 11 weeks in 2014. (REUTERS)

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Gov’t officials, workers get salary increase today

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, March 29th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Government employees and officials are expected to get their salary increase for three months on Friday (March 29).

Department of Budget and Management (DBM) officer-in-charge Janet Abuel, through National Budget Circular no. 575, announced the “implementation of the fourth-tranche compensation adjustment for civilian personnel in the national government.”

Abuel emphasized in her circular that government agencies are directed to use “any available appropriations under the 2018 General Appropriations Act, as reenacted” for the increase” as mandated under Executive Order 76 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on March 15.

With the new salary adjustment, President Duterte is expected to receive a total of P399,739 monthly salary from P298,083 last year.

Vice President Leni Robredo, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin will receive a maximum monthly salary of P353,470 this year, an increase by more than P88,000 from P264,721 last year.

Cabinet members, other officials with Cabinet rank, senators and congressmen, meanwhile, will receive a P72,000 increase. Their monthly pay will now be P292.191 from last year’s P223,590.

Teachers and nurses will now get P22,829 adjusted pay rate for earnings ranging from P20,179 to P22,055 last year.

On January 15, 2018, the military and uniformed personnel received their salary increase as part of President Duterte’s promise since he took over as president in 2016. – Marje Pelayo



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