Consuls general of PH, Indonesia meet over FDW boarding house probe

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Philippine Consul-General officials met with their Indonesian counterparts on Monday to discuss issues foreign domestic workers face amid an ongoing probe into agency-managed boardinf facilities. (COURTESY: Consul-General Raly Tejada/Facebook)

The top officials of the Philippines and Indonesia in Hong Kong met amid an ongoing inquiry into the government’s regulations on domestic workers’ boarding facilities.

Philippine Consul-General Raly Tejada confirmed on Monday that he met with his Indonesian counterpart Ricky Suhendar after Ombudsman Winnie Chiu launched a probe after Covid-19 outbreaks in these dormitories were reported last year.

“Nakipagpulong tayo sa mga opisyal ng Konsulado Heneral ng Indonesia sa pamumuno ng ating kaibigan na si Bapak Ricky Suhendar sa layuning maisulong ang mga programa at mga proyektong makakatulong upang maiangat ang kagalingan ng mga mamamayan ng Pilipinas at Indonesia na naninirahan at nagtratrabaho sa Hong Kong,” Tejada said in a Facebook post Tuesday.

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[Translation: We met with officials of the Consulate General of Indonesia headed by our friend Bapak Ricky Suhendar with a goal to push through with programs and projects that will help elevate the well-being of Philippine and Indonesian citizens who stay and work in Hong Kong.]

Tejada did not disclose details of the meeting but said both Consulates-General agreed to consult each other further to send recommendations to the Hong Kong government.

“Basically there is convergence that ensuring the health and safety of our nationals are matters of utmost priority,” Tejada said in a message to Hong Kong News.

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The Philippines and Indonesia send the largest number of domestic workers to Hong Kong, covering 365,411 or 97.7% of the total foreign domestic worker population in the city as of December 2020.

Domestic workers often stay in these dormitories while they await the processing of their employment documents. But the Covid-19 pandemic shone light on the workers’ health and safety concerns after the emergence of infection clusters.

The Ombudsman had earlier sought responses from the public, including members of the domestic worker community in the city, about issues in these transient dwellings.