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Migrant leader blasts at ‘misleading’ information from Labatt about flight ban

10 August 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap

Airlines are still not flying from Manila to HK despite the partial lifting of the travel ban


August 9 came and went, and no Filipinos flew into Hong Kong despite its announcement that it was lifting its ban on vaccinated travelers from countries it designated as high risk for Covid-19, including the Philippines.


Flight information from Philippine Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Cebu Pacific showed not one of them had scheduled travel to Hong Kong from Manila yesterday.



The earliest scheduled flight for that route is on Aug 15 for CX906 (Cathay), Aug 19 for PR300 (PAL) and Aug 22 for 5J 272 (Cebu Pac).


This is because of Hong Kong’s condition that all travelers from category A countries like Philippines must not only be vaccinated, but must also hold a “valid vaccination record.” This effectively lifted the ban only for returning residents and OFWs who have been vaccinated in Hong Kong.


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As the Philippines has yet to get its vaccination records recognized by Hong Kong, most of those stranded there, including an estimated 3,000 overseas Filipino workers, will have to wait some more to get the green light to come here.


Despite this, Labor Attache Melchor Dizon told a Philippine daily that the stranded OFWs can now enter Hong Kong because of the lifting of the travel ban. 

(link here:


Dizon (in white shirt) with Consul General  Tejada

He was also quoted in the Philippine Star report published early on Monday that more OFWs may come in since the Philippine Overseas Labor Office continues to process job orders.


The report also said “Hong Kong still requires a 14-day quarantine even for fully vaccinated workers upon arrival.”

A text message sent to Dizon asking for a clarification went unanswered. 


Eman Villanueva, chair of Bayan Hong Kong and Macau, expressed outrage at what he called as “misleading” information from Labatt Dizon.


Maling mali ang impormasyon. Misleading ito at malayo sa katotohanan,” Villanueva said. “Almost 4 months nang naka-ban ang entry ng mga galing sa Pilipinas. Maliban sa mga vacationing OFWs na fully vaccinated na before they left Hong Kong for the Philippines, wala pang ina-allow na makapasok.”

(The information is all wrong. It is misleading and far from the truth. It has been almost four months since Hong Kong banned the entry of passengers from the Philippines. Apart from vacationing OFWs who were fully vaccinated before they left Hong Kong for the Philippines, nobody else is allowed to come in).


Villanueva stressed that up to now, the Consulate is still in talks with Hong Kong authorities to get the Philippines’ “yellow card” which is meant to serve as its international vaccination record recognized here.

He added, referring to the quarantine period for vaccinated travelers coming in from the Philippines, “and it is not just 14 days but 21 days.”

Villanueva says the misleading statements compounded the misery of stranded OFWs

Villanueva was amazed that the country’s top labor official in Hong Kong was clueless about the problems still being faced by the stranded OFWs in the Philippines, and in the process, gave them false hope which only compounded their misery.


The Philippine Star report also caused confusion among OFWs, especially those who had been waiting to enter Hong Kong since the flight ban was imposed on Apr 20. Some had forwarded links to the story, and wondered why it differed from what they had been told.


An employment agency owner was equally surprised that Dizon had misinterpreted Hong Kong’s statement that it was lifting the flight ban only for residents and returning migrant workers in the Philippines who had been fully vaccinated here.


“Then tell all the stranded workers to approach him,” the recruiter said in jest.


According to the government’s announcement last week, vaccination records held by travelers from high-risk countries will only be recognized as valid if they were issued in Hong Kong, Macau or the mainland, or any country where its national regulatory authority has been designated by the World Health Organization as “a stringent regulatory authority.”


The Philippines, like six other countries in the high-risk category, do not hold such recognition. Only the United Kingdom and Ireland in that list have that status.


Consul General Raly Tejada has said in a recent interview that he was still in talks with Hong Kong officials on how vaccination records issued in the Philippines could be verified to allow inoculated residents and OFWs to start coming here.


But he said Hong Kong appears inclined to accept the WHO International Certificate of Vaccination being issued by the Bureau of Quarantine in the Philippines, so long as they contain relevant information such as the holder’s vaccination record and passport details.


He also said the Consulate has been working very hard to strike a deal with Hong Kong so Filipino workers can start coming in as soon as possible.


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