Proposed mandatory health checks ‘dangerous’ to FDHs—migrant leader

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The HK Department of health urged members of the public to maintain a healthy lifestyle

Saying it was a “threat” to Filipino domestic workers, an alliance of migrant workers here in Hong Kong is preparing to hold protest actions against the proposed mandatory health checks being studied by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO).

Dolores Balladares-Pelaez, chair of the United Filipinos in Hong Kong-Migrante-HK, said the POLO 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 at the convention of the Manggagawa party-list group Hong Kong chapter in Central on Sunday (January 13).

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

Balladares-Pelaez said migrant workers will take to the streets before the month ends to protest against the proposal and the compulsart 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.

The POLO earlier said it was studying a proposal to require mandatory pre-employment health check-ups for Filipino domestic workers renewing their contracts or transferring to a new employer.

Labor Attache Jalilo 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.

“We are still reviewing this policy because there are concerns that this might lead to terminations,” Dela Torre said in an interview on January 9.

The POLO issued an advisory setting out the new policy on January 8 but Dela Torre said he withdrew it the following day for “fine-tuning.”

If implemented, the new policy would mean that Filipino domestic workers would have mandatory health exams at least every two years or if they change employers.

The proposed policy requires medical check-ups that include 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 would also require employment agencies to submit the worker’s fit to work certificate and proof of her insurance coverage.

Dela Torre said they would come up with a decision on the proposed policy by the end of the month.

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