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HK Labour Dept ‘excited’ to join The SUN’s event

14 April 2016

By Vir B. Lumicao

Early bird Hong Kong Labour Department came fully equipped on Dec 20 as it joined the exhibition at The SUN 20thAnniversary celebration in Chater Garden, with an information team that handed out 6,000 brochure kits to domestic workers.
Even before the event started at 10:30 am, about two dozen volunteers from the department had begun distributing the information kits on the event ground, as well as along Chater Road where another Filipino community event was under way, and the periphery of HSBC and World-wide House.
“We have distributed 6,000 here and around Central,” said one of the one volunteers before he checked out at the labour information kiosk around 5pm. He said he and other volunteers covered Chater Garden, HSBC and other places in the area where Filipino and other domestic workers congregated.
"We have intensified our information campaign so that the domestic helpers would know their rights," said Jace Chan, assistant manager of the department's Workplace Consultation Promotion Division, who manned the desk at the kiosk.
"It seems many of the workers and employers are not fully aware of their rights, so we are reaching out to them. In every local community event we set up information kiosks to give advice and hand out kits," said Chan, who is a regular speaker at post-arrival orientation seminars for newly arrived helpers at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office at Admiralty Centre tower 1.
This was the first time the Labour Department had been invited to a Filipino community event and Chan hoped they would be asked to take part in more of such events.
"The Labour Department is very excited to join The SUN 20thanniversary event and are very thankful that your newspaper has invited them," Vice Consul Fatima Quintin, head of the Consulate's assistance to nationals section, had earlier said.
Taking up two slots on the right side of Chater Garden, the labour Department set up a twin covered tent and installed a large LED television screen in one tent where it ran laboreducation videos mainly focused on achieving a harmonious relationship between employers and domestic workers.
Filipinas who perhaps were not aware of the booth simply passed by, stopping only when a volunteer greets them and hands them information kits.
As of 3pm, only a handful of Filipinas had approached the kiosk and sat down with Chan to consult her with their problems.
"It was about their relations with their employers," Chan said after the consultations.
Earlier, she excitedly told The SUN that Labour Deputy Secretary Donald Chen was in the vicinity and was coming to pay a visit to the kiosk and suggested that he could meet the Consulate official.
The SUN advised Chan to let us know when the official came so that he could be introduced to Deputy Consul General Christian de Jesus, who was seated among the guests.
Ten minutes later, Chan extended the apology of the deputy secretary who, accordingly, "dropped by just a very, very short time" and left after seeing the Consulate people were in business suits while he was in casual wear.
"He said he was very sorry," Chan said.

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