Palace: No ban vs OFWs in Hong Kong going home amid COVID-19 surge
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government is not banning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Hong Kong from going home to the Philippines despite a surge of COVID-19 cases in the Chinese special administrative region, Malacañang said Tuesday.
Cabinet Secretary and acting presidential spokesman Karlo Nograles said there is no policy banning Filipinos to come home to the Philippines.
Meanwhile, it would be up for the Hong Kong government if it would ban Filipinos from going to the special administrative region, he added.
“Ang policy natin is lahat ng Pilipino na gustong umuwi ay papayagan umuwi sa bansang Pilipinas. Sinumang Pilipino saan man sa mundo ay maaring umuwi sa Pilipinas. Walang ban against coming home to the Philippines. All Filipinos who want to come home to the Philippines ay welcome na welcome,” Nograles said in a Palace briefing.
(Our policy is that all Filipinos who want to go home will be allowed to go home to the Philippines. There is no ban against coming home to the Philippines.)
Nograles made the statement after Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong appealed during the same briefing not to impose a ban on OFWs who wish to return to the Philippines.
Consul General Raly Tejada said there are still Filipinos in Hong Kong who are still up for repatriation.
“Kung maaari sana, ‘wag mag-ban ng pagpapauwi ng ating mga Pilipino sa Pilipinas sapagkat marami pa rin mga kababayan natin na patuloy na umuuwi galing sa Hong Kong papuntang Pilipinas,” he said.
(If possible, we hope there would be now ban because many Filipinos are still up for repatriation.)
However, he leaves the decision to the Philippine government.
Hong Kong is currently experiencing a fifth wave of COVID-19 surge of infections, overwhelming its capacity to deal with the pandemic.
OFWs in Hong Kong who got infected in the ongoing COVID-19 surge in the Chinese special administrative region have appealed for immediate government assistance after some of them were fired by their employers.
With their employment contracts terminated and with no employment visa, a number of COVID-positive OFWs were reportedly denied admission to hospitals.
Tejada said only three to five OFWs were terminated by their employers and the consulate will investigate the circumstances of their cases as they are currently focused on treating the OFWs.
“Kapag gumaling sila, we will revisit the situation and then we will ask them ano nangyari at kung mapatunayan na they were asked to leave because of their sickness, ito ay illegal dismissal,” he said.
(When they recover, we will revisit the situation and then we will ask them what happened and if it can be proved that they were asked to leave because of their sickness, it is illegal dismissal.)
“We are proactively engaging the employers to explain to them that terminating their employees in this difficult time especially when they are sick is not only illegal it is immoral,” he added.
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