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Unifil-Migrante honors Labatt Jolly with rare award for exemplary service

26 July 2019


By Vir B. Lumicao

Image may contain: 6 people, including Edwina Antonio, Dolores Balladares Pelaez, Jalilo Dela Torre, Shiela Tebia de Aldo and Cynthia Abdon, people smiling, people standing and shoes
Migrante and allied organizations handed the award to Labatt Jolly a few days before he leaves HK for good.
From left: Ester Bangcawayan, Edwina Antonio, Dolores Balladares Pelaex, Labatt Jolly, Sheila Tebia and Cynthia Tellez

Militant migrant workers bestowed a “Gawad Tanggol Migrante” award to outgoing Labor Attaché Jalilo dela Torre on Friday, Jul 26, for his exemplary and dedicated service to the Filipino workers in Hong Kong.

The rare tribute was held in a brief and simple ceremony at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in YE Life Tower in Wanchai.

Unifil-Migrante HK chairperson Dolores Balladares-Pelaez led the ceremony assisted by Gabriela Hong Kong & Macau chairperson Sheila Tebia. Eman C. Villanueva, Unifil-Migrante secretary-general, was not able to attend.

Guests at the event were Mission for Migrant Workers general manager Cynthia Abdon-Tellez, director Edwina Antonio (who is also executive director of Bethune House Migrant Women’s Refuge) and case officer Ester Bangcawayan.

A plaque handed by the group to Labatt Jolly cited him for his “loyal service and protection of the rights and interest” of Filipino migrants in Hong Kong who are mostly vulnerable female domestic workers.  
Labatt Jolly is cited for his honest service,  and for protecting the rights and welfare of Filipino migrants in HK

“(Ang) Gawad Tanggol Migrante ay ipinagkakaloob kay Atty. Jalilo dela Torre bilang pagkilala sa kanyang matapat na paglilingkod at pagtatanggol sa mga karapatan at interes ng mga migranteng Pilipino sa Hong Kong,” Unifil-Migrante said.

“Ipinagkaloob ang pagkilalang ito sa okasyon ng ika-34 Taong Anibersaryo ng United Filipinos in Hong Kong ngayong ika-24 ng Hulyo, taong 2019 sa Central, Hong Kong SAR.”

It was signed by by Balladares-Pelaez  and Villanueva.

The plaque was originally scheduled to be given to Labatt Jolly at the anniversary program of Unifil-Migrante at Chater Garden on Sunday, Jul 21. But the celebration was cancelled due to a large gathering in the area by anti-extradition bill protesters.

Labatt Jolly is one of a very few public servants who have endeared himself to Filipino migrants in Hong Kong, including the left-leaning ones.

As Balladares-Pelaez pointed out at the Filcom farewell party for him on Jul 7, her group even went to the extent of joining a protest against his untimely recall early last year, the very first time they did so for a government official.

“Ibig sabihin lang po, siya ay isang huwaran, isang mahusay na kawani ng gobyerno si Labatt na magandang tularan ng iba pang mga nagseserbisyo sa gobyerno,” she said in her speech.
She also noted that Labatt dela Torre was always ready to help rescue distressed OFWs at all times of the day, and even held a dialogue with them while sick.

Villanueva said militant migrant workers in Hong Kong were drawn close to Labatt Jolly because he exemplified the activist slogan “serve the people”.

“Kaming mga aktibista kasi, meron kaming motto, yung ‘Serve the people’, yung ‘paglingkuran ang sambayanan’. Siguro iyon ang naglapit sa amin kay Labatt Jolly dahil sa panahong inilagi niya rito, nakita namin na ang kanyang tapat na paglilingkod sa OFW,” Villanueva said.

Otherwise, if Labatt Jolly was a bad labor attaché, Villanueva said, “baka nakita nyo kaming nagpuprotesta para palayasin siya.”

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