As the travel ban holds ban Filipinos from flying to Hong Kong and Macau, it is expected that thousands of Filipino domestic helpers will lose their jobs if it persists until the end of February.
“Ten thousand household service workers (HSW) who are on vacation and have travel documents from the POEA as Balik-Manggagawa OECs (overseas employment certificate) will lose their current jobs with HK employers if they cannot return on time as they have only two weeks’ vacation given to them by their employers,” says the President of the Society of Hong Kong Accredited Recruiters of the Philippines (SHARP) Alfredo Palmiery.
According to Palmiery, there are currently 15,000 HSWs who already secured new contracts from their employers and were only given two to three weeks’ vacation to fly back to Hong Kong and start their work.
It can be recalled that Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III gave an order to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to provide financial assistance to stranded OFWs and accommodate them until the ban is lifted and they will be allowed to leave the country.
But Emmanuel Geslani, a recruitment consultant claims that OFWs really wanted to go to Hong Kong and Macau so they can start with their jobs.
“The 250,000 Filipino domestic helpers in Hong Kong and Macau are very much worried about losing their jobs if the Philippine government stops them from returning to their jobs in Hong Kong and Macau over a travel ban imposed on all Filipinos traveling to the two Special Administrative Regions (SARs) of China because of the novel coronavirus now spreading to all of Asia and in some parts of the world,” says Geslani.
“The vacationing Filipino workers have only two weeks’ worth of vacation leave from their employers and the government should issue an exemption for them to return to their jobs or lose it if the government insists on banning the travel of all Filipinos to China and the two SARs,” he added.
Just in Hong Kong, there are 200,000 Filipino domestic helpers and the majority of them fear of losing their jobs in case they go back to the Philippines and be prevented from going back to their respective jobs.
“This is similar to a survey conducted in Hong Kong last year at the height of the government protests wherein 95 percent of Filipinos would not return to the country despite the call of Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to come home because of the violent protests in the city,” he added.
The travel ban was imposed by the government due to the widespread cases of 2019 nCoV ARD.