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Flores leads PAHK 2019

Posted on 18 January 2019 No comments
PAHK's new officers take oath before Congen Morales (with brown folder)

BPI’s Gary Flores has been sworn in as the new chairman of the Philippine Association of Hong Kong, in ceremonies held at the Consulate on Jan. 17.

Flores led 14 other members of the PAHK’s Board of Directors in taking their oath of office before Consul General Antonio A. Morales, who pledged the Consulate’s continued support for the professional group.

“We wish the new leadership continued success in their term,” Congen Morales said.

He also urged the PAHK to think of new projects, especially those that will benefit Filipino household service workers, saying the Consulate will back them up on these.

On the sidelines of the induction, Flores spoke of reinvigorating the PAHK through monthly cocktails and new projects.

The other new officers of the PAHK are: Greg Matubis (PLDT), vice-chairman; Julie Lee (Prime Credit), secretary; Jackielyn Ang (PLDT), asst secretary; Rico Maniquez (BDO), treasurer; Edna Hui (PNB), asst treasurer; Julius Barcela (Metrobank), auditor.

The committee  heads are: Karlo Benasa, public relations; Stef Chan, asst public relations; Emmerson Caro, sponsorships; Amiel Brul, asst sponsorships; Chad del Valle, events; Angel Jones, asst events; Eric Goyena, memberships; and Arn Cereno, community relations. - DCLM

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ConGen says health check-ups for OFWs to be taken up with HK govt

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Congen Morales spoke on sidelines of PAHK induction

By Daisy CL Mandap

There is no final decision yet on the planned mandatory pre-employment health check-ups for Filipino domestic workers.

This was what Consul General Antonio A. Morales said on Jan 17, after he inducted into office the new members of the Board of Directors of the Philippine Association of Hong Kong.

ConGen Morales said the matter of requiring regular medical check-ups for Filipino domestic workers will have to be taken up at the next regular technical working group meeting with Hong Kong officials.

“There should also be consultations with members of the Filipino community first,” he said.

The country’s top diplomat said he was surprised himself when he saw the advisory from Labor Attache Jalilo dela Torre informing accredited employment agencies that the mandatory health check-ups would take effect from Feb. 15.

Labatt dela Torre has since put the plan on hold on being told of concerns from various migrant workers’ groups, and called for a consultation meeting on Sunday, Jan. 20.

But this has not deterred the militant migrant organization, United Filipinos – Migrante Hong Kong, to call a protest on Jan 27 to denounce the plan as endangering the work of Filipino migrants.

Dela Torre’s advisory required both a medical insurance and a “fit to work” certificate for all Filipino domestic workers applying to process new work contracts starting Feb. 15.

The requirement would have covered all Filipino household workers, whether new arrivals, re-contracts, or signing up with a new employer.

The advisory also said the basic pre-employment check-up covers “physical examination, chest x-ray, stool exam, urine exam, blood test (complete blood count, hepatitis B, sugar, cholesterol, triglyceride, uric acid, blood urea nitrogen, creatinine).”

Unifil-Migrante’s Eman Villanueva was among the first to hit out at the plan, saying the “fit to work” requirement could lead to many longtime domestic workers losing their jobs if their medical tests show even the slightest abnormality.

He also expressed fear employment agencies would use this as a way to make extra money from either the worker or the employer.

In his upcoming dialogue with Filcom leaders, Labatt dela Torre said he would ask if a “fit to work” certification should be required for the processing of contracts, and if yes, what is the extent of the medical tests that should be required.

Another issue is whether POLO should accredit medical clinics in Hong Kong for ease of compliance with the requirement.

He decided to impose the mandatory checks after seeing alarming results in the free HealthWise medical examination his office has been offering to all Filipino migrant workers since November last year.

These included a higher-than-average percentage of workers who are pre-diabetic or confirmed diabetics, and have high blood pressure or are hypertensive.

Social media comments by Filipinos on his plan have been mostly in favor of periodic medical check-ups for domestic workers, but say this should not be made a requirement when processing a new work contract.

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Another Pinay accused of shoplifting at Aeon

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Entrance to Aeon supermarket in Quarry Bay. 

By Vir B. Lumicao

A domestic worker has been charged with theft in Eastern Court for allegedly stealing merchandise from Aeon supermarket in Quarry Bay in November, just a month after another Filipina helper was arrested for shoplifting in the same store.

C. Sedano, 41, was formally charged on Jan 16 before Magistrate Peter Law.

The magistrate did not take a plea from the defendant and adjourned the case to Feb 28 at the request of the prosecution.

Law also granted an application for bail by the defendant after she was able to provide the court an address where she will be staying while the case is being heard.

He ordered Sedeno to post bail of $1,500 for her temporary release

Earlier, Law adjourned the hearing so Sedano could find a place to stay and use as her contact address for the court. She managed to obtain permission from an NGO to stay in its shelter for distressed migrants.

Sedano was accused of taking the merchandise from the Aeon Store in Kornhill Plaza, Tai Koo Shing, Quarry Bay, on Nov 14 last year.

A police report said the items she stole were one blue Adidas jacket, one white New Balance shirt, two black Adidas hoodies, one frozen fish fillet, two rolls of sushi, one pack of cooked food and two boxes of milk, all belonging to Aeon Stores (HK) Co.

No estimate of the value of the goods was provided by the police.

On Jan 15, another Filipina, J. Toquero, was fined $2,000 also in Eastern Court after she pleaded guilty to a charge of stealing assorted merchandise worth $1,600 last October in the same Aeon shop.

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DH in court for drug trafficking and related charges

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Eastern Magistracy in Sai Wan Ho

By Vir B. Lumicao

A Filipina domestic worker appeared on Eastern Court on Jan 17 facing three drug-related charges, including drug trafficking.

The focus of the magistrate, however, was not on the defendant, Michelle Dabao, but on the attempt by the prosecution to adjourn the hearing yet again for another four weeks.

Dabao was arrested sometime late last year, while allegedly carrying an unspecified amount of dangerous drugs and equipment to sniff drugs.

She was charged with one count each of “trafficking in a dangerous drug,” “possession of a dangerous drug” and “possession of apparatus fit for the inhalation of a dangerous drug”. No other details were given. 

Magistrate Peter Law asked the prosecutor if she was trying to hide some information from the court for seeking a new adjournment until Feb 14 for the same “for further legal advice”, the same reason she gave for the adjournment on Dec 15.

The prosecutor said investigators were still considering what charge they would lay against Dabao based on the findings on her drug test.

She assured the judge she was giving the court true information and that it would take one to two days to prepare the file and send it to the Justice Department.

“But the file was sent to the DOJ on Jan 3, two weeks before the application for adjournment. Why didn’t you tell the court on Dec 15?” Magistrate Law asked.

He told the prosecutor to tell the police there would be no application for adjournment until she gets a full picture of the investigation, as the defendant has been in custody for some time.

“Tell the police if they don’t give the prosecution the whole picture, it will be their fault,” Law said.

The judge allowed the adjournment this time, but shortened it to two weeks until Jan 24.

He told Dabao to return to court then. In the meantime, he ordered her remanded into custody.


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