DOLE reminds Filipinos in Hong Kong to stay alert amid fresh protests

Robie de Guzman   •   October 10, 2019   •   410

Riot police officers detain a protester in Mong Kok during an anti-government protest in Hong Kong, China, 07 October 2019. Anti-government protesters continue to take to the streets against the government’s use of emergency powers to ban face masks in public in a bid to end the city’s protests. Hong Kong has been gripped by mass demonstrations since June over a now-withdrawn extradition bill, which have since morphed into a wider anti-government movement. EPA-EFE/FAZRY ISMAIL

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reminds Filipinos in Hong Kong anew to stay alert and cautious amid escalating protests and public disruptions in the area.

DOLE reiterated its reminder after it received fresh reports on the series of protest actions resulting to disruptions in public transport and business activities in various parts of the region.

“We are again urging all our OFWs in Hong Kong to exercise caution by staying indoors and keeping away from the locations where protest activities are taking place,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a statement released on Wednesday.

Based on the latest advisory issued by the Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong, below are the areas and dates when protests are reportedly to be held:

10 October: Tsim Sha Tsui Police Station
12 October: New Town Plaza Shatin
13 October: Victoria Park and Edinburgh Place
14 October: Edinburgh Place and Chater Garden
16 October: Resumption of Legislative Council
20 October: The Riverpark Tai Wai to Shatin
21 October: Yuen Long MTR Station
26 October: Tamar Park Admiralty
31 October: Prince Edward MTR Station

Bello also reminded Filipino workers in Hong Kong to refrain from wearing black or white colored upper garments while on the streets to avoid being mistaken as protesters.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) earlier issued an advisory on fresh protests in Hong Kong, adding that these demonstrations are expected to continue throughout the month. The DFA also reminded Filipinos in Hong kong anew to not participate in, and to stay away from protest areas.

The labor chief assured it continues to monitor developments in the area.

Filipino maid tested positive for COVID-19 in Hong Kong “in good condition”

Marje Pelayo   •   February 20, 2020

HONG KONG – The Philippine Consulate General’s office confirmed on Thursday (February 20) that the Filipino maid who contracted the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is now in stable condition.

Maganda ang kaniyang disposisyon at hindi siya kinakikitaan ng sintomas ng sakit gaya ng sipon, ubo, at lagnat (Her disposition is good and she is not showing signs of illness like cold, cough or fever),” the Consulate General’s office said in a statement.

Siya ay nasa mabuting kalagayan (She is in good condition),” the office confirmed.

The Pinay worker, however, is still not allowed to accept visitors as the results of the series of tests on her samples are still pending.

The Consulate preferred not to disclose the identity of the Filipino helper as requested by the patient herself but the office assured to provide her the necessary assistance on the course of her recovery.

Meanwhile, the Consulate General’s Office reiterates its appeal to the public not to spread fake news on social media so as not to cause panic.

Muli rin pong nanawagan ang Konsulado na iwasan ang pagpapakalat ng mga ‘fake news’ o anumang impormasyon na hindi beripikado (The Consulate Office reiterates our call (on Filipinos) to avoid spreading fake news or any unverified information),” the Consulate General’s office stressed.

Ito po ay upang maiwasan ang alarma at pagaalala lalo na ng ating mga mahal sa buhay (So as not to cause alarm and panic among our relatives),” it added.

Official information and updates regarding the situation of Filipinos in Hong Kong in relation to COVID-19 outbreak may be accessed on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PHLinHK/.  

Health waivers mandatory for Filipinos leaving for Hong Kong, Macau

Marje Pelayo   •   February 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino household helpers may now return to their employers in Hong Kong after the Philippine government ordered a partial lifting of the travel ban amid the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Brigido Dulay confirmed the order on Tuesday (February 18) as Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo noted that the partial lifting was in response to the mounting requests from returning workers to Hong Kong.

“There had been persistent requests from the OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) themselves,” he said.

“In fact, I received one call that he was fired from that position because he has not gone back, maybe that’s the reason why,” he added.

However, confusions emerged over the terms and conditions for their return, specifically the government’s requirement that they sign a written declaration acknowledging the risk of coronavirus infection if they head to the administrative territory.

But the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) stressed that such declaration is mandatory.

“With the exemption, OFWs returning to Hong Kong and Macau shall be required to execute a declaration which states that they are aware of the risks involved,” the DFA said in an advisory.

“Newly-hired Filipino employees are likewise exempted from the ban as long as they also sign the form that can be obtained from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA),” it added.

Nonetheless, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin assured that despite the risk, the government will always be ready to provide them assistance even as one Filipino maid has been confirmed positive for the virus.

“Don’t worry, they’ll sign health waivers but we won’t waive our obligation to take care of them wherever they are,” Locsin said.

Aside from the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), Filipinos with permanent residency status in Macau and China are also allowed to depart as well as Filipino students enrolled there.

Meanwhile, Filipino travelers from China with foreign spouses and their children will also be allowed entry to the Philippines as well as all holders of diplomatic visas subject to a 14-day quarantine period upon arrival.

Filipino maid in HK tests positive for coronavirus, contact tracing launched

Marje Pelayo   •   February 19, 2020

HONG KONG – The Philippine Consulate General confirmed on Tuesday (February 18) that a Filipino household helper tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Currently isolated at Pamela Youde Nethersole Estern Hospital in Chai Wan, the 32-year-old Filipina maid initially tested negative of COVID-19 after she consulted for cough and slight fever.

Three days later, she returned with a positive result.

She is believed to have contracted the virus from her 67-year-old employer who tested positive for the virus on February 13.

Philippine Consul General Raly Tejada said they have launched contact tracing of the people who were in close contact with the Filipina maid in the past weeks.

He assured that all necessary assistance will be provided to the Filipino national.

“The Consulate General sent a team to the hospital to check on her condition,” the Consul General said in a statement.

“Rest assured that the government will render all necessary assistance to the Filipino national,” he added.

The Filipino domestic worker is the 61st positive case of COVID-19 in the administrative territory.

The report came on the day the Philippine government allowed Filipino domestic workers to return to their employers in Hong Kong amid the coronavirus crisis.

In an advisory, the Consulate General advised all Filipinos in Hong Kong to always monitor their health conditions and avoid crowded places to prevent contagion. MNP (with inputs from Ferdie Petalio)

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