This Sunday will have the first major protest action of OFWs in Hong Kong against the ban on direct hiring imposed at the start of this year.
I mentioned the issue in a previous post and the points remain unchanged. The new rule still sucks. It sucks not only for domestic helpers in Hong Kong because it covers everyone in all countries and even professionals as it stipulated that direct hiring for them shall only be allowed for 10 employees per company.
A couple of things though came up after the issue has been brought to fore.
First is the barrage of statements from no less than the people responsible for rule that have not helped at all but instead muddled the basic flaw of the rule. Ranging from the ridiculous reason that only a few will be affected – yeah right, so let the overzealous recruiters have these precious few to get overcharged as well – to the even more ridiculous and made up distinction between name hiring and direct hiring.
Then there's also the matter about rehires and those applying with new employers. The memorandum does not make any distinction and so even if agencies currently say that these OFWs are not included, there's no telling when it will finally become a blanket rule. Probably if protests fizzle out.
To top it all off, there is this Administrative Order 247 recently issued also that directs recruitment agencies to be more aggressive in seeking out labor markets for Filipino migrants. Considering that the Magna Carta for OFWs explicitly said that the government does not promote labor export, this order obviously says otherwise.
While a growing number of OFWs get laid off from work, have their wages reduced or are facing non-renewal of contracts, there is still no clear program of protection and services established to cushion the blow of the raging crisis to Filipino migrants.
What we have are OFWs from Taiwan who got fired last year and are still waiting in vain for that promised assistance package. What we get is the news that an OFW in Hong Kong got hit by a bus and died reportedly because he was walking dazed and disoriented after getting the axe as well.
What we do now have is this ban that offers OFWs to unscrupulous recruiters in a silver platter.
So yeah, a major protest action is called for. Surely won't be the last in the very near future.
On a more personal note, I've been slacking recently. I'm still managing but I do need to up my ante if I am to pull off what I should be doing in the next few days.
Time to resort to what I have learned whenever I'm jittery and dreading what is about to come: it will happen and all I can do is prepare myself so that by the next day, I can still say that "it ain't that bad".