Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Wednesday expressed his appreciation for the work of the Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong in defending the rights of overseas Filipino workers from the selective plan to vaccinate 370,000 foreign domestic helpers.
“Thank our Consul in Hong Kong who set me right. Sure vaccines are life-savers but to single out and segregate Filipino domestic workers is salvation at the price of dignity. I gave him 101% support and called on my friend (Hong Kong CEO) Carrie Lam to set things right as she has. DFA did it all,” Locsin said in a tweet.
The Hong Kong leader earlier announced that authorities would review the requirements for domestic helpers following concerns raised by relevant sectors, including Philippines Consul General Raly Tejada who vehemently opposed the planned measures.
In defending the action of the Philippine Consul, Locsin said the planned measure “smacks of discrimination” even while Filipinos would like to be vaccinated at home.
Indonesia, another exporter of domestic workers to Hong Kong, joined the Philippines in opposing the COVID-19 measures as it reportedly filed a complaint before the Special Administrative Region’s Equal Opportunities Commission.
Like the Philippines, Indonesia argued that the rules should apply to other non-resident workers in the former Crown Colony if the rules will take effect.
Under the proposed measures, all domestic workers, mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia, are subject to coronavirus tests before May 9 while the government also plans to require all helpers to get vaccinated before renewing their contracts.
Hong Kong equal protection regulators are likely to engage in more discussions among all affected parties to be able to reach a consensus.