Tue. May 11th, 2021

While it recognizes Hong Kong’s sovereign prerogative to push for mandatory vaccination for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) of foreign domestic workers, Malacañang on Monday said Filipino domestic workers should not be singled out.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque echoed the remarks made by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Philippine Consul General to Hong Kong Raly Tejada urging Hong Kong not to force foreign workers to get vaccinated.

“We go with the statement of Secretary Locsin of course… sana po huwag i-single out ang ating mga Filipino OFWs, bagama’t we recognize iyong sovereign prerogative na i-require ang bakuna (I hope they do not single out OFWs, although we recognize the sovereign prerogative to require vaccination),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace press briefing.

Roque acknowledged Hong Kong’s police power to implement compulsory Covid-19 vaccination, but noted that “it must be done in a manner that all people will be covered.”

“The exercise ng police power, it must be done in a manner that all people will be covered. There should be no singling out,” he added.

In a recent tweet, Locsin said Hong Kong’s Covid-19 vaccination requirement “smacks of discrimination and if it is a special favor, it is unfair to other nationalities.”

Tejada, for his part, said concerned consulates should have been consulted as it involves the substantive rights of their nations.

Hong Kong earlier announced the mandatory Covid-19 testing for foreign domestic helpers by May 9, 2021.

Mandatory Covid-19 vaccination will also be required for all workers before their contracts could be renewed, and any incoming worker would be required to have the vaccination to enter Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, Roque reassured overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in India who want to go home that they will be repatriated when commercial flights resume.

“Our President’s heart will still prevail for our OFWs and I see that some Filipinos who want to go home but are subject to stricter quarantine here in the Philippines including full 14-day quarantine regardless of their PCR results,” he said in Filipino. SOVEREIGNPH

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