Labatt Jolly junks proposed additional check-ups for FDHs

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Labatt Dela Torre

 

Labor Attache Jalilo Dela Torre has permanently cancelled plans for Filipino domestic workers here in Hong Kong to have mandatory health check-ups when they are renewing their contracts or changing employer.

In an advisory issued yesterday (January 21), Dela Torre told HK employment agencies that his previous order requiring them to submit “fit to work certificates” for Filipino domestic workers had been rescinded permanently.

“Due to the engendered fear among the community that it could lead to possible terminations by the employers, please be informed that the said advisory is hereby rescinded permanently,” Dela Torre said.

“On the other hand, the community is encouraged to monitor their health, especially their blood pressure in order to avoid health related problems, particularly stroke which constitutes the majority of the cases recorded by this office,” he added.

Dela Torre issued on January 8 an advisory requiring the mandatory health check-ups but withdrew it the following day for “fine-tuning.”

The advisory had required Filipino domestic workers to undergo mandatory medical check-ups, including a physical exam, chest X-ray, stool exam, urine exam, and blood tests (Complete Blood Count, Hepatitis B, Sugar, Cholesterol, Triglyceride, Uric Acid, Blood Urea Nitrogen, and Creatinine).

It also required employment agencies to submit the worker’s fit to work certificate and proof of her insurance coverage.

Dela Torre said the proposal was meant to ensure that Filipino migrants remain healthy after the spate of overseas Filipino workers dying from a stroke here in HK last year. However, he put it on hold due to opposition from migrant groups.

Dolores Balladares-Pelaez, chair of the United Filipinos in Hong Kong-Migrante-HK, said the proposal to require check-ups for domestic workers renewing their contract or changing employer was “dangerous” as it could cost them their jobs.

“Ang tingin po natin doon sa mandataory health check-up ay lalo lamang maglalagay sa atin sa panganib. Ibig sabihin, malamang mawalan tayo ng trabaho. Threat po yan sa ating trabaho,” Balladares-Pelaez said on January 13.

“Kasi kung hindi tayo fit to work, ang mangyayari ma-eemploy ba tayo? Hindi na,” she added.

Balladares-Pelaez said they planned to hold protests against the proposal and the compulsary insurance policy order from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.

“Hindi naman kukuha ang mga employer ng mga kasambahay na ipapagamot nila. Hindi nman ganun ang kanilang konsepto,” she said.

“Kaya dangerous yan, yang mandatory health check-up na yan,” she added.