HK vows to protect OFW rights
THE Hong Kong government will continue to protect the rights and benefits of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the city, Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said during the celebration of the 120th anniversary of Philippine independence.
Speaking during the diplomatic reception on June 19 at the Conrad Hotel in Admiralty, Cheung said the Filipino community provided a “hugely important contribution” to the city’s economy.
“Hong Kong is home to a large Filipino community here who make a hugely important contribution to our city’s extraordinary economy and cultural diversity, Cheung said in his speech.
Cheung is familiar with Filipino labor concerns since he previously served as the Hong Kong’s Secretary for Labour and Welfare from July 2007 to January 2017.
“I have always taken a keen interest in the well-being of our Filipino community here,” Cheung said.
“I can assure you that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government will continue to protect their rights and benefits so that they can enjoy working, providing much-needed and much- appreciated domestic support services to tens of thousands of Hong Kong families and living in this prosperous and vibrant community,” he added.
Cheung also noted that the Philippines is a major trading partner of Hong Kong, with trade growing by 23 percent last year. He added that nearly 900,000 Filipino tourists also visited the city during the same period.
For his part, Consul General Antonio Morales thanked Secretary Cheung and Labour Secretary Law Chi-kwong for their “concern” for Filipino workers.
“Our links are forged in history and have not only endured but have also developed into a partnership, and the most visible dimension of this partnership is the presence of more than 223,000 Filipinos in Hong Kong,” Morales said.
“The partnership is evident in the active, constructive engagements we have with the Hong Kong government that contribute greatly to the improvement of systems and mechanisms protecting the rights of our workers,” he added.
Morales said a “solid result of this dialogue” was the speedy passage in February of the amendment to the city’s Employment Ordinance which provided “tougher measures protecting (Filipino doemstic helpers) from unfair practices and abuses by unscrupulous employment agencies.”
“May I take this opportunity to once again thank the Acting Chief Executive Matthew Cheung and Secretary Law for their attention and concern for our workers. The welfare of our workers effectively impacts the welfare of your people too,” Morales said.