OFW deployment ban to HK opposed

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One of the arrested protesters in Sheung Wan on July 28


MANILA—There is still no need to impose a temporary deployment ban for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) going to Hong Kong because doing so would only harm Philippine relations with the HK government, a recruitment industry consultant said yesterday (August 7).

Emmanuel Geslani said the estimated 250,000 overseas Filipono workers in the special administrative region know how to take care of themselves and generally live in residential areas away from protest sites.

“Our OFWs in Hong Kong have survived massive rallies and civil disobedience movements previously and they are familiar with the areas of demonstrations so they know how to avoid these areas,” Geslani said in a statement.

“Most of our OFWs who are working as Household Service Workers live in residential areas which are quite far from downtown Hong Kong and government offices,” he added.

Geslani said a temporary ban will also do more harm to Manila’s ties with the Hong Kong government.

“Another knee-jerk reaction of a ban will seriously affect our workers in Hong Kong, most especially with the employers who have hired the services of foreign recruitment agencies for the supply of qualified HSW,” Geslani said.

“There are contractual obligations that our local recruitment agencies are duty bound to implement…and any disruption, no matter if its temporary, will affect our OFWs,” he added.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III earlier this week said that the Department of Labor and Employment was studying whether to impose a temporary deployment ban to HK.

“We are already studying that possibility,” he said.

Yesterday, Bello said there was no decision yet because they were still waiting for the assessment of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

“If the situation worsens, they would have to give us a periodic report since a possible deployment ban is under consideration. But right now, there is no increase in alert level. So, deployment remains normal,” Bello said.