The migrants’ ministry of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines expressed alarm over the situation of overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong amid the ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases in the Chinese territory.
“It is now very urgent and so necessary to assist and to help our OFWs in Hong Kong,” said Bishop Ruperto Santos, vice chairman of the commission, in an interview over Radio Veritas 846.
“With this COVID-19 surge there, all are impacted,” he said.
“It is a very difficult and dangerous situations for all, for our own OFWs, especially those who have been left on their own by their employers or those who have no permanent place to stay or have no families to take care of them,” said the bishop.
The Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong this week said all OFWs needing emergency assistance due to the recent coronavirus surge have been accounted for and assisted.
A report on the Inquirer quoted Consul General Raly Tejada assuring the Filipino community that the Hong Kong labor department had sent word that it was committed to give proper care and treatment to Filipino workers.
“Upon our representations, the Hong Kong government through the labor department assured the consulate that all Filipinos in Hong Kong needing medical attention and isolation, will be treated and taken to an isolation facility if necessary,” said Tejada.
Tejada said a total of 61 Filipinos have tested positive for COVID-19 and 31 sought help from the consulate to get admitted to the hospital or get access to isolation facilities.
“I am pleased to report that all of them are safe and have received medical attention and are now staying in an isolation facility,” he said.
More than 200,000 Filipinos work in Hong Kong, more than 90 percent of them as domestic helpers.
The Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Hong Kong had denied reports that some Filipinos were forced to sleep in the streets.
Bishop Santos, meanwhile, urged the government “to extend to the maximum our material and financial assistance” and help to the workers.
“It is our sign of gratitude for the good they have done and continue to do for our country,” he said. “It is our time and turn to do charity, to be compassionate and to be concern with their wellbeing,” added the bishop.