Phl Consulate General in HK to appeal proposed mandatory vaccination for domestic workers
Marje Pelayo • May 3, 2021 • 148
MANILA, Philippines — The Hong Kong government is planning to impose a new policy requiring domestic helpers to get anti-COVID jab before they are allowed to work there.
This new policy follows the Hong Kong government’s order on mandatory swab testing among domestic helpers after two foreign workers tested positive for a more contagious variant of COVID-19.
But according to Philippine Consulate General Rally Tejada, the new policy would discriminate against domestic helpers as it is exclusively directed to their sector.
“It would have been better if concerned consulate generals like the Philippines, Indonesia, and other countries of origin were consulted on this matter as it involves the substantive rights of our nationals,” he said.
“If vaccination becomes a condition to work in Hong Kong, then its application should be non-discriminatory so that there is no feeling among our foreign domestic workers that they are being singled out. Maraming non-residents [workers] din na similarly situated so bakit sila lang (There are many non-resident workers who are similarly situated, so why just them [domestic workers])?” he said.
Tejada said they will try to appeal the proposed policy even though the Hong Kong government has yet to announce its implementation.
“Wala pang date ng implementation ang mandatory vaccination sa mga mag-renew ng visa (There’s no date yet for the implementation of mandatory vaccination among those who wish to renew their visa) so we will try to convince the Hong Kong government to keep vaccination voluntary at huwag gawing kondisyon para makapagtrabaho (and not make it mandatory as a prerequisite for employment),” Tejada noted.
Currently, there are around 370,000 Filipinos living and working in Hong Kong. Of this number, more than 200,000 are foreign domestic workers, the Philippine Consulate General said.
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government on Monday expressed hope that Hong Kong authorities will not single out overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in its plan to make COVID-19 vaccination compulsory for foreign domestic workers.
While the Philippine government welcomes a state’s prerogative to require vaccination, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Filipino migrant workers should not be singled out.
“Alam niyo po ang equal protection clause is not just a provision in the Philippine Bill of Rights, it is accepted already in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights at sakop po ng kanyang applicability ang Hong Kong,” Roque said in an online briefing
“Sana po ‘wag i-single put ang ating mga OFW bagama’t we recognize yung sovereign prerogative na i-require ang bakuna,” he added.
“We have an early 1905 case na sinustain po ng korte suprema ng Pilipinas ang mandatory vaccination against smallpox as a form in part and parcel of police power pero pati po ang exercise of power must be done in a manner na lahat po ng tao ay sasakupin. Wag naman pong magkaroon ng singling out,” he further stated.
Earlier media reports stated that Hong Kong health officials are planning to make COVID-19 testing and vaccination mandatory for some 370,000 domestic helpers before they can renew their contract.
The plan comes after two migrant workers were found infected with the more virulent variant of the novel coronavirus disease.
Groups of migrant workers in Hong Kong have criticized the plan, saying it is “discriminatory and unjust.”
MANILA, Philippines — The Hong Kong government issued a temporary travel ban on flights from neighboring India, Pakistan, and the Philippines after reports of the presence of a specific COVID-19 strain in these countries.
This, after the Hong Kong government implemented on April 14 the tightened flight-specific suspension mechanism along with the new place-specific flight suspension mechanism.
The 14-day travel ban, which will take effect Tuesday (April 20), applies to all people from the said countries which the Hong Kong government considered as ‘extremely high risk.’
“With confirmed cases involving the N501Y mutant strain detected for the first time in the community in Hong Kong, for prudence’s sake, the Government has applied the criteria of the newly implemented place-specific flight suspension mechanism retrospectively for 14 days on places where there had been imported cases confirmed by arrival tests that carried the N501Y mutant strain,” the Hong Kong government said.
“India, Pakistan, and the Philippines all had seven-day cumulative number of relevant cases that reached the relevant criteria in the past 14 days, and the Government will therefore invoke the place-specific flight suspension mechanism for these three places,” it added.
Those who came from the said countries but are already quarantined in Hong Kong must get tested on their 26th day in the city under emergency measures.
Those who have traveled to these three countries in the last 21 days as well as those who stayed for more than two hours on the day of boarding will not be allowed to enter Hong Kong.
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) said it has already tested the close contacts of the Filipina domestic helper who tested positive for the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) variant in Hong Kong.
The results of the genome sequencing on her samples will be out this week.
Meanwhile, the government was able to trace all of her contacts and they are all under quarantine and being monitored.
“Lahat po sila mino-monitor. Nakakuha na rin po tayo sa kanila ng (All of them are being monitored. We also collected from them) specimens for RT-PCR at the same time for the whole genome sequencing,” explained Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
“So pinoproseso na po ngayon ang kanilang mga samples at maaaring bukas o sa Huwebes ay lumabas na po ang mga resulta nito (Their samples are now being processed and perhaps tomorrow or Thursday, the results will be out),” she added.
So far, the Philippines has yet to detect the new variant inside its borders. –MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
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