Gordon calls on gov’t to take prompt action on plight of OFWs in HK
Senator Richard J. Gordon has called on the national government to take speedy response on the current plight of some Filipino workers in Hong Kong who were reported to have been denied care and medication, and abandoned by their employers after being tested positive for COVID-19.
“Nananawagan ako sa ating gobyerno lalo na sa OWWA, DOLE at DFA na sa lalong madaling panahon ay solusyunan ang problemang ito ng mga kababayan nating OFW sa Hong Kong. Dapat na matulungan sila kaagad, matingnan ang kanilang lagay doon, at siguruhing sila ay may maayos na pagkain at tirahan,” he said.
Gordon, who expressed deep concerned over international reports that several OFWs in Hong Kong were forced to sleep on the streets or being turned away by hospitals, added that combatting the COVID-19 and its variants is a matter that requires a synchronized government and community effort, more so when the pandemic affects the OFWs in a place as crowded as Hong Kong where living space is limited.
“Karamihan sa OFWs sa Hong Kong ay walang sariling kuwarto at natutulog lang kung saang sulok sa bahay ng kanilang mga amo. Kapag may sintomas ng COVID, kailangang mag-self isolate. Paano nila gagawin iyon kung ang mga amo nila ay takot mahawa at itinataboy sila? Ang OWWA ay maaaring magrenta ng hotel rooms para sa mga kababayan natin doon kapag sila ay nagka-COVID para hindi na nila danasin ang hirap nang natutulog sa kalsada.” he pointed out.
“We have to anticipate that many of our fellowmen will get sick. Hong Kong should allocate rooms for our OFWs to serve as quarantine facilities, but if they can’t, OWWA should provide,” Gordon added.
Gordon has been consistently advocating for the protection and welfare of overseas Filipinos. In 2018, he sponsored Republic Act No. 11199 or the Social Security Act of 2018, which makes coverage in the Social Security System (SSS) compulsory upon all sea-based and land-based OFWs, and that benefits such as retirement, death, disability, funeral, sickness and maternity, among others, shall be provided to them.
In 2021, he co-sponsored Senate Bill No. 2234, a measure seeking to establish the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) that would address all issues and concerns of Filipino workers abroad in one single agency.
One of the amendments that Gordon introduced in the said bill is the provision of adequate evacuation plans, not only for immediate deployment but also in cases of emergencies requiring swift actions, such as their possible evacuation.
Moreover, thousands of Filipinos abroad were saved and brought home through Gordon’s efforts as Chairman and CEO of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) such as those who were repatriated from Gaza, Haiti, Ivory Coast, and Sabah, Malaysia.