By Nariyoung Kim
According to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Hong Kong employers established curfews for maids due to the dangers of the current riot and protests in Hong Kong.
Filipino domestic workers are also required to be fetched upon arrival at the airport in Hong Kong by the foreign recruitment agencies as stated by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
There will be no penalty for those who will violate the curfew, but it is still recommended by the Labor Secretary to accept and follow the given curfew for their safety.
“Most of the domestic workers have curfew during their day off. Since the riots usually occur in the evening, workers are also advised to stay at home by the end of their working hours,” said Bello.
Due to the lack of protection by the Hong Kong judicial system for the domestic workers, the labor officers or their employers can not be held accountable if anything were to happen to their workers.
“It is the worker who is advised not to go out and the employers can’t do anything if they will not comply. But if something happens to them they can’t blame the employer and our labor officers,” said Bello.
OFWs are requested to give their contact information to their local recruiters so that they will be easily located if needed. The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) reminded the employers to remember their duties and responsibilities to the OFWs. It is also reminded that the employers are prohibited to bring their workers to join the rallies and protests.
“They know what to do and what not to do. Now to protect our OFWs, particularly our household service workers, our POLO office advised foreign recruitment agencies to be vigilant and to ensure that a representative will pick up the worker upon arrival at the airport whether old or first-timer,” Bello stated.
Bello stated that the government will only implement the deployment ban if the situation in Hong Kong becomes uncontrollable by the authorities and the Filipino OFWs are placed in hazardous situations.
“So far there are no serious incidents that warrant our consideration of a ban especially since we have to get a signal from the DFA,” Bello said.
Bello assured the OFWs that the POLO is constantly coordinating with Hong Kong Police and monitoring the situations and conditions of Filipino workers.