A FILIPINO Catholic priest based in Hong Kong is apprehensive on the effects of last Monday’s hostage-taking incident on Filipino domestic helpers working in the Chinese colony.
With this, Fr. Robert Reyes of the Asian Human Rights Commission said Filipino workers might lose their jobs to Indonesian nationals as a result of the bloody hostage drama, which killed eight foreigners.
“There are increasing numbers of Indonesian domestic helpers who are fast replacing Filipino workers because they are willing to be paid less,” he said.
On Tuesday, it was reported that a domestic helper was fired by her employer in Hong Kong following the hostage drama in Manila.
An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant Peoples (CBCP-ECMI) meantime hoped that the report will not be precedent for other employers who might want to get even at Filipinos.
“I don’t think they are that immature that they’ll get back at our fellow Filipinos there. But you cannot expect also that they won’t react. It’s a natural reaction,” said Fr. Edwin Corros.
He advised the overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong to look for a job elsewhere, if they were fired by their employers.
“Find another place. We cannot do anything about their situation because we don’t have job opportunities here in our country,” said Corros.
He admitted that there is a lot to learn from the incident.
The hostage taking lasted 10 hours has resulted to the death of the hostage taker dismissed police officer Rolando Mendoza and eight tourists.
Oman Pinoy workers repatriated
In other developments, close to 200 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Oman are set to be repatriated back to the country after the Sultanate granted amnesty to them.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said based on the report Philippine Labor Attaché to Oman Romeo Young that the Oman Ministry of Manpower acted favorably on the applications for amnesty of the 179 OFWs in July.
The Sultanate’s period of granting amnesty for expatriate workers ended on July 31.
She added that the amnesty was a gesture of the Sultanate to allow overstaying undocumented workers to facilitate all formalities to exit Oman to avoid paying huge fines.
“The amnesty granted to the 179 paves the way for their repatriation to the Philippines,” Baldoz said in a statement.
The Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Oman is now facilitating the return of the workers under the government’s continuing efforts to provide expanded protection and welfare assistance to distressed OFWs pursuant to President Aquino’s labor and employment agenda.
Since March, the Philippine Embassy, POLO and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration had repatriated a total of 158 OFWs—one OFW in March; 67 in April; 58 in May; 24 in June; and 8 in July.
The labor attaché also reported that the Oman Ministry of Labor had cancelled the applications for amnesty of 31 OFWs and had released four OFWs to new sponsors. (FP/Sunnex)