By ANTHONY IAN CRUZ
February 7, 2008
SIXTY-five OFW groups representing more than 130,000 Filipinos toiling in Hong Kong as domestics and professionals have formed a coalition calling on the government to rescind a memorandum requiring foreign employers to pay $8,000 in fees to directly hire Filipino workers.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration requires foreign employers seeking to hire OFWs to pay a $5,000 repatriation bond to guarantee the repatriation of the worker or of his remains in the event of death, and a $3,000 performance bond to guarantee payment of salaries.
The new coalition is called SKRAP MC-04, or Samahan Laban sa Katiwalin ng mga Recruitment Agencies at Patakarang MC-04 (Society against Abuses of Recruitment Agencies and the MC-04 Policy).
SKRAP MC-04 said it expects thousands of OFWs to join the coalition’s protest action on Sunday at the Harcourt Garden near the building that houses the Philippine consulate general.
The 65 groups composing SCRAP MC-04 include eight alliances, eight Church-based associations, three union chapters, and 44 regional and other types of organizations, said Dolores Balladares, chair of the United Filipinos in Hong Kong (Unifil), one of the movers of the coalition.
She said the coalition is also mounting protests on February 24 and March 9.
Balladares said the coalition is planning to approach employers and local groups in Hong Kong to support their campaign.
Groups forming the coalition are Abra Migrant Workers Welfare Association, Abra Tinguian Ilocano Society, Abuyog Migrant’s Association, Alay Kapwa Filipino Catholic Group, Alimudian Iloilo Association, Annak Ti Maeng Association, Association of Concerned Filipinos, Balikatan sa Kaunlaran-Hong Kong Council, Balikatan Sa Kaunlaran-Kowloon New Territory, Balunga Overseas Workers Association.
Balungao Overseas Welfare Organization, Bangued Hong Kong Organization, Binalonan Migrant Workers Association, Bontoc Migrant Workers Organization, Bucay Migrant Association, Bucloc Hong Kong Organization, Consolidated Filipino Community Brigade, Candonians Ilocos Sur, Cordillera Alliance, CUYAPO Association, Evangelization Family.
Filipino Community Services and Information Network, Filipino Catholic Group-Stanley, Filipino Friends Hong Kong, Filipino Migrant Workers Union, Filipino Migrants Association, Filipino Women Migrant Workers Association, Free Believers, Friends of Bethune House, Gabriela Hong Kong Bank, Gabriela Lytleton, Gabriela Yuen Long.
Helpers of Islam Group, Hingyon Association, Hong Kong Villasinian, Ifugao Association, Ikmen Valley Organization (Boliney), Januiaynon Association Hong Kong, Kalinga Province Workers Association-Hong Kong, Langiden Overseas Workers Association, Lagawe Association, Leyte Samar Association, Licuan Hong Kong Association, Mabama Organization Hong Kong.