The Philippines has welcomed Hong Kong’s decision to halt and review an earlier decision to make coronavirus vaccinations mandatory for foreign domestic workers.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam earlier announced that concerned authorities would reexamine the vaccine requirement for domestic helpers following complaints raised from some sectors. Hong Kong’s labor and welfare bureaus have been reportedly assigned to review the policy and discuss with experts including consulates of countries where foreign domestic helpers come from.
“We appreciate po the gesture of Madame Lam,” Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said during a televised press briefing Tuesday, May 4.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has also expressed gratitude to Hong Kong’s Lam for putting the brakes on the vaccination requirement for domestic workers.
“I AM SO PROUD TO KNOW CARRIE LAM. Her responses are always quick yet wise. Hong Kong’s best leader since China lost the island in the Opium War. Thank you, Ma’am,” Locsin tweeted Tuesday.
The Palace earlier said it recognized the sovereign prerogative to require vaccination but urged Hong Kong not to single out overseas Filipino workers. Filipino workers abroad however are urged to get vaccinated as much as possible and continue to observe health protocols in the host countries. “We are not safe until everyone is safe,” Roque said.
Locsin earlier claimed that Hong Kong’s vaccination rule “smacks of discrimination” and was unfair to other nationalities.
While the planned vaccination rule for foreign domestic workers is under review, Hong Kong reportedly plans to continue with the compulsory COVID-19 testing rule. The Philippine government has no objection to this initiative to detect those with coronavirus illness.
“Of course we welcome also the mandatory testing,” Roque said.
“In fact, we are also ramping up our own testing here in the Philippines because talaga naman pong kapag hindi mo tinest hindi mo alam kung nasaan ang ating kalaban (if you don’t test, you won’t know where the enemy is),” he added.