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HK, Phl to jointly issue details of agreement for return of FDHs

26 August 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap

Only 400 FDWs can be accommodated in the only hotel designated for their use so far 

Hong Kong and the Philippine Consulate will jointly issue a statement on the gradual return of Filipino domestic workers later today, Aug 26.

This was revealed last night, Aug 25, by Consul Paulo Saret, head of the assistance to nationals section of the Consulate, in The SUN Interviews, held on Facebook live.

Saret said the joint announcements will pave the way for the reopening of HK to FDHs starting on Monday, Aug. 30, as previously announced by Philippine Secretary of Labour Silvestre Bello III.


Tomorrow, mag iissue ng joint press release ang ating Konsulado at ang pamahalaan ng HK,” said Saret. “Hindi na siguro natin matatalikuran ang sinabi ni Secretary Bello noong Sunday that this coming 30th of August ay pwede nang pumasok ang ating manggagawa.”

(Tomorrow, our Consulate and the Hong Kong government will issue a joint press release. We can no longer go back from the statement issued by Sec Bello last Sunday that our workers will start coming in from the 30th of this month).

Most of the stranded passengers are FDWs who have been waiting to come in since Hong Kong issued a ban on passenger flights from the Philippines and other high-risk places on Apr 20 this year.

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Saret confirmed that the main sticking point was the lack of a uniform or standard vaccination certificate for those who were inoculated in the Philippines. This was resolved with the presentation of the International Certificate of Vaccination Prophylaxis issued by the Bureau of Quarantine in the Philippines.

But another issue arose when Hong Kong officials noted that the so-called yellow card issued by the BOQ did not bear the passport number of the vaccinated person. To resolve this, the Philippine side  asked the BOQ to issue a separate certificate to all Hong Kong-bound Filipinos giving out their passport number as a form of identity.

Thus, Saret advised all those who got vaccinated in the Philippines to first obtain the yellow card detailing all their information including passport  number, before securing their flights to avoid paying for rebooking in case they do not get the BOQ certificate on time.


He also said the Consulate, through the Department of Foreign Affairs, has requested the BOQ to prioritize HK-bound passengers for the issuance of the vaccination card, and to open more places for distribution amid complaints that the earliest booking slot for the card is in November this year.

One worker posted in the comments section during the live show that she was forced to pay Php7,000 to hire a van that took her all the way to Subic, Zambales just to obtain the card, as that was the only place where there was an early booking slot.

Saret emphasized that only those who got vaccinated in the Philippines must obtain the yellow card. Those who had it in Hong Kong need not secure the card as their vaccination certificate issued here would allow them to enter the city at any time.

He also clarified that all domestic workers who are using the yellow card must book with the hotel designated by the Hong Kong government for FDHs, whether they are returning or first-time workers.

Despite the designation of just one hotel for FDHs entering the city using the yellow card, Saret said the Hong Kong government has given assurance that there will be a steady stream of workers coming in.

But based on the announcement made by Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Tuesday, that would mean only a maximum of 400 workers coming in every 21 days, the length of mandatory quarantine for all passengers coming in from high-risk countries.

Saret said they hope that more quarantine hotels would be opened in time so all the estimated 3,000 Filipino workers waiting to enter could do so shortly.

Migrant leader Dolores Balladares-Pelaez, who was also on the show, asked why Hong Kong is segregating migrant workers from the rest of arriving passengers, saying this smacked of discrimination.

She said the domestic workers will all eventually join the families they will work for, whichever quarantine hotel they will be coming from, so segregating them does not serve any purpose but to again single them out as potential virus carriers.

Saret said the Consulate failed to see it this way, as they were busy trying to strike a deal over the vaccination certificate, but promised to bring up the concern in their next meeting with HK officials.

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