Looks like one of the last big frontiers of the Filipino migrant has pretty much shut its doors to a big chunk of Filipino humankind. Reportedly ruling that Filipino domestic workers are not “ordinarily residents” in the territory and that they temporarily reside there under contracts that tie them to “finite stints of temporary employment,” Hong Kong’s highest court has put an end to the hopes and dreams of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos seeking the Hong Kong Dream.
According to Eman Villanueva, head of the Filipino community group in Hong Kong, United Filipinos, the ruling marked a “sad day”. According to Villanueva, the ruling gave “a judicial seal to unfair treatment and the social exclusion of foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong.” He also reportedly described the ruling as “very unfair and discriminatory.”
But what exactly is “unfair” about all this? The ruling of the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong stated thus…
“The nature of foreign domestic helpers’ residence in Hong Kong is highly restrictive,” the judgment stated. “The foreign domestic helper is obliged to return to the country of origin at the end of the contract and is told from the outset that admission is not for the purposes of settlement.”
If indeed it is true that all those limitations were stipulated in employment contracts signed by every Filipino maid Hong Kong, then what is there to argue further?
None of the arguments put forth by spokespeople of the Filipino community in Hong Kong addresses this rather simple fact. Most if not all of them merely appeal to emotion. Adding to the allegations of “social exclusion”, “unfairness”, and “discriminatory treatment” on the part of the Hong Kong government cited by Villanueva, Eni Lestari, spokesperson of the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body, says the decision “pushes foreign domestic workers further to the margins of this society.”
“The NCS binds us in a condition of degradation. Coupled with the mandatory live in arrangement, our exploitative condition is further magnified. The court’s decision not only allowed for exclusion and discrimination to perpetuate, but also exposed the slave situation of FDWs. We are not ordinarily residing in Hong Kong precisely because we are made as a disposable subclass of workers,” Lestari stressed.
Indeed, the policy perhaps does need to be changed. But until that happens, nothing stops droves of Filipinos from signing up for the chance to earn Hong Kong dollars despite the prospect of being subject to this “unfair” and “discriminatory” policy.
For that matter, Filipino overseas foreign workers (OFWs) have been known to prefer to suffer life even in war-torn countries rather than be repatriated to the “safety” of their homeland. This illustrates the fundamental issue that is really at work here — the thing about their homeland, the “Philippines” that motivates, no, pushes millions of Filipinos to subject themselves to the judicial whims of foreign employers and foreign governments.
As the old wisdom in that seminal Bisolvon commercial dictates:
You need to go to the source of the problem if you want to implement real and sustainable solutions.
The phlegm of the matter in this case is the whole issue around what makes the Philippines so inhospitable to decent human life as to perpetually see millions of its citizens scurrying for jobs in even the most appalling of places.
Perhaps the depth of reflection our “activists” need to engage in simply remains beyond the reach of their simple minds. It’s time we address the issue of OFWism at its root causes.
Then you stop coughing.
[Photo courtesy SoloFlightEd.com.]
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.