Responsive Ad Slot




Buhay Pinay



Philippine News

Join us at Facebook!

ConGen Tejada, Filcom leaders applaud Ombudsman’s probe of boarding houses

15 January 2021

 By Virgilio B. Lumicao 

Shelters like Bethune House follow strict health protocols, says Antonio

Filipino community leaders and migrant workers have welcomed the Ombudsman’s opening of an investigation into what the Hong Kong government has done to regulate boarding facilities for foreign domestic helpers. 

Consul General Raly Tejada said he hopes the probe would result in better living conditions for FDHs, while the manager of a shelter for distressed helpers said it should underscore the need for government to set up facilities for them.

Pindutin para sa detalye

Migrant workers who have experienced staying in boarding houses also favor regulation. 

“I hope the investigation and the resulting recommendations by the Honourable Ombudsman can help improve the living conditions of foreign domestic workers, especially with regard to provision on proper accommodations which is statutorily guaranteed,” ConGen Tejada said.

Edwina Antonio, executive director of Bethune House Migrant Women’s Refuge, which operates two shelters for distressed workers, said the investigation should push the government to provide a safe and secure place for them.

But she said Ombudsman Winnie Chiu’s action is directed more at overcrowded boarding houses and dormitories run by Hong Kong employment agencies and other private operators and not shelters like Bethune House.

8 FDHs who stayed in a boarding house in Fung Nin building in Tai Po were infected

Last year, several outbreaks of Covid-19 were recorded among Indonesian helpers who were living in agency-run dormitoryies, while more recently in a Taipo boarding house, 10 DHs, mostly Filipinas, were found infected, along with four family members of an employer. 

Antonio said shelters run by churches and nongovernmental organizations follow safety rules and health protocols set down by the government. At Bethune House, for example, strict guidelines on proper hygiene are imposed to ensure that the shelter is safe from coronavirus transmissions.

“Since the pandemic began, we have limited our intake of people in keeping with the social distancing requirement. We also accept only those workers who have tested negative to ensure that she does not bring the virus into the shelter,” Antonio said.



All of Bethune’s residents have taken Covid-19 tests from which they emerged negative, but Antonio said she still encourages them to go for a new test whenever one is offered, just to be sure that the shelter is coronavirus-free.

She said residents of Bethune House’s shelters in Sheung Wan and Jordan are instructed to keep proper distancing as much as possible, wear a mask, sanitize their hands regularly and wash the clothes they take off after returning from outside.

These safeguards may not be present in some boarding houses where operators are just concerned about providing a space for workers waiting to take up a new job, without much regard for their health and safety, Antonio said.

The workers themselves are aware of the danger of losing their prospective employment if they catch the virus, but they have nowhere to stay, Antonio said.

Rain Tuando, an administrator of the Domestic Workers Corner Facebook group, said she hopes the government will set up its own shelters for FDHs.

Naway maglaan po ang Hong Kong government ng shelters para sa mga FDH na magagamit nila kapag holiday, para wala silang makikita pa na mga workers na nagpapahinga sa karton tuwing holiday nila,” Tuando said.

(I hope the Hong Kong government sets up shelters that FDHs can use during their holiday, so that no worker would be seen resting on cartons on their day off)

Baby Jean de Leon, also a DWC admin who rents a flat that she shares with fellow workers in need of a shelter, said foremost to her is the safety of other FDHs.

Ang para po sa akin ay pipiliin ko lagi ang kaligtasan ng nakararami at maging mabuti at maayos ang mga FDH habang naghihintay sila ng working visa,” De Leon said.

(I’d always consider the safety of the majority and good living conditions for the FDHs first as they wait for their working visa),”

Pindutin para sa detalye

Di po ako against diyan dahil alam ko naman na ang aking boarding house ay malinis at maayos.

(I’m not against it (any regulation] because I know my boarding house is clean and tidy.)”  



Don't Miss