Morales on getting held at Hong Kong airport: ‘It was bullying’
Robie de Guzman • May 22, 2019 • 2731
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.
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.)
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.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday (October 8) her administration had no plans to use emergency powers for the introduction of other laws and that the Chinese territory was equipped to handle the current situation on its own as the city braced for further demonstrations through the week.
Lam was speaking at a news conference after a long weekend of violent protests at which thousands of people defied colonial-era emergency powers imposed on Saturday (October 5) that had banned the wearing of face masks.
Lam on Friday (October 4) invoked the emergency powers for the first time in more than 50 years in a dramatic move intended to quell the escalating violence in the Chinese-ruled city.
The ban on face masks took effect Saturday, Oct. 5, under the emergency laws that allow authorities to “make any regulations whatsoever” in the public interest, Lam said. (Reuters)
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