Every Sunday, 300,000 Filipinos pitch their tents or sit on cardboard boxes in Hong Kong busiest park to spend their day off from work. (Screen grab, BBC)
In Hong Kong, where there are at least 300,000 Filipino domestic workers most of whom are women, every Sunday (their only day off) is their opportunity to go out and mingle with their kababayan. They have nowhere else to go but here, in one of Hong Kong’s busiest corner.
The housing situation for Filipino workers in Hong Kong has not changed nor improved over decades. Past Philippines administrations has given lip service to their plight and they have to feign for themselves – finding accommodation in the streets for a day until they go back to work in the evening.
President Rodrigo Duterte has once again promised to look after their situation. In his 4th SONA (State of the Nation) address a couple of days ago, he vowed to start a new office for OFWs, another layer of bureaucracy added to the current POEA.
Duterte even bragged about his appointment of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) head honcho Eduardo Manalo as his special envoy to look after overseas Filipinos. Since his appointment in February 2018, we haven’t heard a peep from Manalo.
Domestic workers abroad has been called the unsung heroes fro propping up the Philippine economy with their dollar remittances, in the tens of billions.
According to Rappler, in the period from January to 2019 alone, $13.7 billion were remitted to the Philippines by OFWs.
And yet we see these OFWs living conditions in Hong Kong not mention other parts of the world like the Middle East.