OFWs afraid

February 03, 2020
AFP journalist Sebas-tien Ricci checks his temperature at The Vacanciel Holiday Resort in Carry-le-Rouet, near Marseille, France on February 2, where French citizens are in quarantine following their repatriation from the coronavirus zone in Wuhan, China. AFP

Thousands of OFWs on vacation leave fear losing their jobs due to travel ban.

SOME 250,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) based  in Hong Kong and Macau are deeply worried about losing their jobs,  if  they are prevented from returning to work by the temporary ban on travel to China and its Special Administrative Regions (SARs).

According to recruitment consultant and migration expert Emmanuel Geslani, OFWs or Household Service Workers (HSWs) who are on vacation in the country are concerned about the recent travel ban that may prevent them from going back to their jobsites unless Malacanang clarifies an earlier order that bans all Filipinos from traveling to mainland China and the two SARs.

There are about over 200,000 Filipino domestic workers among 300,000 HSWs in Hong Kong, the rest are various nationalities like Vietnamese, Indonesians, Thais and some coming from African countries.

Most Filipinos working abroad have expressed their intention not to go back to the Philippines now due to the new travel ban and this is similar to a survey conducted in Hong Kong last year at the height of the government protests which showed 95 percent of Filipinos would not return to the country despite a call of DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III to come home because of the violent protests in the city.

It was learned that the vacationing Filipino workers have only two weeks vacation leave from their employers and the government should issue an exemption for them and allow them to return to their jobs.