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PCG will open again 9am-4pm starting Wednesday

20 July 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao 

The PCG's 'return to normal' announcement

Starting tomorrow, Jul 21, the Consulate will start operating from 9am to 4pm, Sunday to Thursday, in view of the improving Covid-19 situation in Hong Kong, the PCG  announced on its Facebook page Monday.

This is a reversal from the 9am-3pm Sunday opening hours and the shorter 10am-3pm business hours on Monday to Thursday that the Consulate started implementing on Dec 3 last year.


However, it is still not a complete return to normal as the Consulate used to provide services from 8am to 4pm on Sundays.

Also, the PCG’s return to its previous working hours lags that of Hong Kong government offices, which resumed their normal services on Feb 18.

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The Immigration Department, perhaps the most frontline of Hong Kong public offices as it receives about 500 foreign domestic helpers alone each day, opens from 8:45am-4:30pm Monday to Friday and 9am-11:30am on Saturday.

The Consulate did not respond directly to a query on why it took them another five months to follow Hong Kong’s example, despite complaints from Filipinos, particularly its main clientele, the OFWs, that the shortened hours have made their transactions more difficult than usual.


“Reason is continued zero cases and improving situation since last July,” Consul General Raly Tejada said in reply to an online inquiry.

“Again let me emphasize that we neither closed nor did work from home since the pandemic began,” he said. “We need to calibrate our policies in order to serve the public in the best way possible. The policies we have adopted have allowed your Consulate to serve you without interruption."

PCG's December post said the shortened work hours were meant to last for only 2 weeks

However, during the third wave of infection in early July to August last year when PCG also shortened its service hours, it allowed its staff to work from home on alternate days, saying this was to prevent congestion in its offices.


ConGen Tejada said then that the shorter operation hours were also meant to help Filipinos seeking their services to avoid rush-hour crowds in going to and from the Consulate.

The return to the 9am to 4pm opening hours was greeted with relief by most migrant workers, who had complained of not having enough time to complete transactions at the Consulate.  But some used the chance to clamor for the PCG to open on Saturday, which they say is their day off.

ConGen Tejada said that’s not impossible, but like other Philippine civil servants, Consulate staff also observe a five-day work week under civil service rules.

“Ang mangyayari nyan, pag nagbukas ng Sabado ay parang sa Middle East kung saan ang mga Embahada at Konsulado natin ay sarado naman kapag Thursday at Friday na kanilang itinuturing na weekend,” ConGen Tejada said.  (If we open on Saturdays, it would be like in the Middle East where our embassies and consulates close on Thursday and Friday, which they consider as weekend.)

“Bilang kawani po ng gobyerno, ang aming pagbubukas ay dapat naaayon po sa civil service rules ng Pilipinas,” he said. (As employees of the government, our opening should be in accordance with civil service rules of the Philippines.)

OFWs say the shortened hours made it difficult for them to complete transactions

One worker suggested that the PCG open from Saturday to Wednesday so that OFWs can process work contracts or set appointments, as most of them take their day off on Saturday or Sunday.

While many others backed her call, others told them to insist to their employers that the processing of their contracts and official transactions are part of their job and should be done on their work days.

Opening hours were first adjusted by the Consulate to 10am to 3pm Monday to Thursday and 9am to 3pm on Sundays effective Feb 3 last year, at the height of the first wave of the contagion in Hong Kong.

It then went back to the shortened work hours from July to August as Hong Kong was gripped by a third wave of infections.

The hours were adjusted again on Dec 3 last year, in a move that was supposed to last for only 14 days but continued until today.



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