Statement of the Migrante Sectoral Party – Hong Kong on the lifting of deployment ban of Filipino household service workers to Hong Kong
The decision of the Society of Hong Kong Accredited Recruiters of the Philippines (SHARP) Inc. to lift the moratorium on the deployment of Filipino household service workers to Hong Kong was brought about by the popular opposition to such a self-serving move that exposed the exploitative practices of recruiters and galvanized the Filipino community to action.
We are appalled by the continued claim of SHARP that what they did and what they are doing are for the protection of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). The truth is, the moratorium they imposed a month ago was triggered by their profit war with Hong Kong recruitment agencies, and profit still drives their operation.
The settlement they have come into with Hong Kong agencies is actually worrisome. It may very well bode of new modus operandi that will ensure that agencies from both ends will be satisfied with their profit share; and profits for agencies have always meant burden for OFWs.
They are not concerned whether employers will not really charge these fees back to the migrant workers. They are also not concerned that their persistence in pushing employers to pay fees outside what the Hong Kong government policies impose may even cost the jobs of OFWs.
SHARP is delusional if it thinks that OFWs believe in their empty rhetoric of protecting our interest. The false altruism of SHARP rings even more untrue in the face of the number of OFWs who have fallen victims to overcharging and illegal collection of fees.
Only the implementation of direct hiring for OFWs going to HK will really serve the interest of OFWs in Hong Kong as it will not force us to go through recruiters, get piled on with fees, and sink into debts just so we can process our employment.
To date, more than 12,000 signatures have been collected for the petition to lift the moratorium as well as the ban on direct hiring in order for OFWs to not be forced to endure the heavy fees imposed by recruiters.
Recently, a statement by various Filipino community groups calling for the same demands was forwarded to the Aquino government and gained the support even of the Philippine Banker’s Club and Filipino professional workers from the UP Alumni Association – HK and the Philippine Association of Hong Kong, endorsed this statement.
In the face of such opposition, the moratorium will not hold. Besides, the move was also definitely not in line with their interest of keeping their profit flowing and for the Philippine government to continue its regular deployment of Filipinos abroad.
But with the demand to lift the ban on direct hiring for HK-bound OFWs, the Aquino government has remained deaf, mute and blind. This is even more condemnable than the empty concern SHARP expresses for Filipino migrant workers.
OFWs in Hong Kong will pursue our demand to lift the ban on direct hiring. At the same time, we shall continue to call for the immediate and effective prosecution of recruitment agencies that overcharge OFWs.
The exploitation of our vulnerability by recruiters must stop. We demand for the Philippine government to prioritize our rights and protection, and not profit – its own and of recruitment agencies.
Reference: Mr. Eman Villanueva
Migrante Partylist 3rd Nominee
Tel. No.: (852) 97585935
Migrante Sectoral Party – Hong Kong
c/o APMM, No. 4 Jordan Road,
Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR
Tel. no.: (852) 93572125 / 97585935
Fax. no.: (852) 27354559