DOLE urges OFWs to stay away from HK rallies

DOLE urges OFWs to stay away from HK rallies

MANILA — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Thursday advised overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Hong Kong to refrain from joining mass actions and demonstrations in the Chinese special administrative region.

“We have to inform them not to join rallies because it will bring the possibility of them getting deported,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said an interview.

At the same time, the DOLE chief directed the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Hong Kong to issue an advisory to Filipinos.

“We have our Labor Attaché there. They know what advice to give to our OFWs there for them to stay away from harm,” he said.

“(But if they want to join), that is freedom. We just give them advice but, ultimately, it is their decision whether to join or not. We cannot prevent them from joining, only provide advice,” he added.

Government data revealed that there are some 180,000 OFWs in Hong Kong, mostly are household service workers.

On Sunday, residents started trooping to the streets of Hong Kong to oppose a bill in its parliament seeking to allow extraditions to mainland China and called for the resignation of Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

Once passed, the bill will allow Hong Kong to detain and transfer people wanted in countries and territories with which it has no formal extradition agreements.

The debate on the bill was delayed as tension between protesters and government troops escalated on Wednesday. Some government offices near the Hong Kong Legislative Council building were closed.

The bill is set to be voted upon on June 20.   Ferdinand Patinio / PNA –