Hong Kong has recently implemented a travel ban on Filipinos following the emergence of a new coronavirus strain.
Because of this travel ban, more than 1,300 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) will be affected, said the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
According to Bernard Olalia, POEA administrator, the country is deploying 2,600 Filipino workers to Hong Kong every month, and about half of this number is expected to suffer from this travel restriction.
Over the weekend, the Hong Kong government confirmed that they will be suspending flights from Pakistan, India, and the Philippines which started last April 20 and will go on for the next two weeks.
“Magkakaroon ng dalawang linggo na temporary suspension of deployment dahil nga sarado ‘yung kanilang border dahil sa pandemya,” says Olalia.
“So kalahati ng 2,600 ay hindi makakaalis. More or or less nasa 1,300 ang apektado doon sa pagpunta sa bansang Hong Kong,” he further added.
According to Olalia, even though there’s an ongoing ban, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) and POEA will continue to process the employment certificates of Filipino workers leaving the country.
“Ang POLO tuloy po yan. Ang accreditation sa POEA tuloy po yan, kasi may 60 days na validity period ang OEC so kahit may temporary suspension mag-hihintay sila kapag na-lift ‘yun. Kapag na-lift in two weeks time, valid pa rin ‘yung OEC na na-issue,” says Olalia.
Furthermore, Olalia also said that Hong Kong is considered as the 4th in the list of countries that OFWs tend to go.
According to the Hong Kong government, Pakistan, India, and the Philippines are “extremely high risk” because of the new coronavirus strain which was first seen in the Philippines.