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Congen calls on Pinoys to help each other as he bids Filcom goodbye

29 July 2019

By Vir B. Lumicao
Image may contain: 1 person
Congen Tony's last words for the Filcom focused on the debt problem that plagues many Filipino migrant workers

Consul General Antonio Morales has urged the Filipino community in Hong Kong to help in extending assistance to those in need as the number of Filipinos in the city continues to grow.

He made the call in a hastily organized send-off for him on Jul 28, where the attendance was visibly affected by the tens of thousands of anti-extradition bill protesters marching on nearby Queensway as the party got under way.

But even as he made his farewell Morales remembered to warn the community about the debt problem that plagues many Filipino workers here, and which sometimes leads to tragic consequences, such as the case of a worker who took her own life recently.
He urged the community to help fellow Filipinos who need urgent help especially when the Consulate can’t help them directly.

He said the Filipino population here has grown fast, from 221,000 when he arrived one and a half years ago, to 240,000 today.

“Siyempre pag marami yan, maraming nagkakaproblem. At isa sa pinakaproblema natin ngayon, siguro alam nyo…yung utangan, napakalaki ng interes ngayon, kung isanlibo ang uutangin, e di $1,600 ang babayaran mo,” he said.
He recalled the case of the more than 1,400 passports hocked by Filipino workers for loans from an unlicensed lending company and recovered by police in a raid in recent weeks, and again appealed to the community not to resort to the practice.

He advised them to avoid debt, especially if their only reason for borrowing money is to buy a new cellphone.

Thanking the volunteers in last May’s elections, he noted that Filipino voters here are of different colors, and requested them to respect whatever beliefs their compatriots have because they are all Filipinos.

Congen recalled that he did not want to be posted in Hong Kong initially, but said that his brief stint here was a blessing in disguise as he had been happy serving the very active community here.

He said in jest that this is his only post, his eighth, where Philippine Independence  Day celebrations last for a month.

Deputy Consul General Germinia Usudan, leading the tributes, noted the Filcom’s sadness in bidding Congen Tony goodbye.

“Napakahirap talagang magpaalam. Sa amin ho, ilang beses na rin kaming nagpaalam kay Congen, pero hindi pa rin maubus-ubos ang aming paalam, kasi para sa amin ang isang mabait at magaling na lider ay napakahirap bitawan,” she said. 
Image may contain: 6 people, including Leo A. Deocadiz, Marites Palma and Virgilio Bello Lumicao, people smiling, people standing and indoor
The SUN team poses with Congen underneath the balloon arch specially created for the occasion by BSK 

The SUN editor Daisy Mandap thanked Morales for being open to the community and the newspaper, an attitude that, she said, was reflected in how the other officers of the Consulate also freely shared information.

“The attitude of the head of post is best reflected in the way the ones under him relate to the people in the community, and for that I would also like to thank the other officers for being open to us in The SUN,” Mandap said.

She said she hoped his successor would be as open and as kind to the community here.

Other Filcom leaders thanked Congen Tony for helping carry out projects for OFWs.
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