A BACOLOD City councilor urged the concerned agencies of government to help prevent the possible exodus of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) working in Hongkong.

City Councilor Sonya Verdeflor, chairperson of the City Council committee on Labor & Management Relations & Overseas Workers, urged particularly the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) to help prevent the possible exodus of OFWs.

Post your reaction to the Manila hostage crisis

The exodus of OFWs from Hong Kong is possible and expected following the hostage-taking at the Quirino Grandstand last August 23, 2010, which took the lives of eight foreign tourists and injured and traumatized the survivors.

In fact, she already received information from relatives of OFWs that there were some OFWs who got terminated by their Hong Kong employers due to the Hong Kong citizens' fury and disgust arising from the citing the hostage-taking.

"We are faced with another problem on OFWs in Hong Kong because of the bad image that we got in the international community with the way our police handled the hostage taking incident," said Verdeflor.

"With this, we're expecting an exodus of OFWs where some were already fired by employers and were made to return to the country in breach of contract," she said.

Verdeflor said that city officials consider this as a problem. She met with Public Employment Services Office (Peso) manager Moises dela Cruz Friday regarding the possibility of an exodus.

She also plans to file a resolution addressed to the POEA, DFA and Dole to establish reliable and constant communications and linkages with the concerned OFWs to help ensure their safety and well-being in Hong Kong.

"I will seek their assistance to come up with safety nets for the protection of our OFWs to prevent situations that will violate their rights while working in Hongkong," she said.

She added even before the hostage incident took place, she already filed a resolution urging the mayor to convene the Bacolod City Labor Management Council to promote strong collaborative relationship between employers and employees in the city.

The Bacolod City Labor-Management Council was created way back in 2003 by virtue of Ordinance No. 354, Series of 2003, which the City Council passed last December 18, 2003.

Section 9 of the said ordinance provides that the mayor shall convene and head the composition of the said council with representations from the Office of the Regional Director of Dole, City Council Committees on Labor and Management, Human Rights, Trade, Commerce and Industries, Laws, Ordinances and Good Government, Agriculture and Fisheries as well as from the private sector, three of which should come from the labor sector and three from the management sector.