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HK OFWs won’t be coming home for X’mas

Republika

Despite wanting to reunite with loved ones, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Hong Kong are choosing not to fly home to the Philippines for the upcoming holidays. This is because of the strict quarantine policy in place amidst the coronavirus pandemic.


May Padawan, a Filipino migrant worker in Hong Kong, says going home isn’t the issue. It’s going back to Hong Kong after.


“The problem is that when I get back,” Padawan said in Tagalog, “is that the quarantine period is for 21 days.” Her vacation leave is only for 17 days.


Employers, she added, usually don’t cover the high costs of employee quarantine. It usually costs around 15,000 HKD or a little over PHP97,000. That alone is already quite hefty for numerous OFWs.


Bayan Hong Kong and Macau chapter Eman Villanueva confirmed the issue. 21-day isolation is required for travelers from countries that Hong Kong sees as high-risk COVID-19 places.


“Unfortunately, the Philippines is part of what’s considered high risk,” he said in Tagalog. “Indonesia, Pakistan, India, and in fact, UK, [the] US. The places with high infection rates.”


Villanueva is calling on the Philippine government to give aid to Filipino migrant worker’s families and ease the OFWs’ burdens.


Despite wanting to go home, many OFWs find the costs of quarantine and travel “just too much.”


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