Filipinos in Hong Kong ‘excited’ to meet President Duterte – Consul General

HONG KONG — Filipinos working in Hong Kong are thrilled to see and meet President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, a top consulate official said.

In an interview with Consul General of the Philippines in Hong Kong Bernardita Catalla, she said thousands of Filipinos working and living in Hong Kong have long been waiting for Duterte to visit the Special Administrative Region.

“Well, a lot of people, a lot of our OFWs are excited. In fact, they have been clamoring for him to visit,” Catalla said.

Duterte departed for Cambodia on Wednesday to attend the World Economic Forum for ASEAN. From Cambodia, the President and his delegation will proceed to Hong Kong for a working visit from May 12 to 13.

Catalla said there are around 210,00 Filipinos in Hong Kong, 194,000 of them are Overseas Filipino Workers mainly domestic workers.

She noted that significant number of Filipinos voted for Duterte during the elections saying that he got 66 percent of the 46,000 Filipinos who cast their votes in Hong Kong last year.

She lamented however that the organizers could not accommodate all those who wanted to see the President on Saturday.

“So those who cannot be accommodated (on the Meeting with the Filipino Community) pasensiya na po because as I said, security is of utmost importance and we are not able to provide a big venue,” she said.

Meanwhile, Catalla shared the consulate’s efforts to improve the skills of Filipinos in Hong Kong by providing them trainings and seminars particularly on health and wellness and financial and foreign language literacy.

“I always tell the Filipinos, our countrymen to prepare for their return to the Philippines, that Hongkong is not their home,” she said.

“We have to go back to the Philippines, they are here temporarily to achieve their goals, their aspirations in life, like sending their children or their siblings to school, finishing school; putting up a small business,” she added.

She likewise encouraged education graduates in Hong Kong to go back to the Philippines and practice their profession there to be able to help their communities.

“We encourage our people to shy away from vices, from debts because that’s one of the issues here; to learn how to save and prepare for the future,” she said.

In a separate interview with Labor Attaché Jalilo Dela Torre, he assured that the Philippine Overseas Employment Office (POLO) is addressing the concerns of Filipinos in Hong Kong especially on issues on recruitment and their employers.

“Habang nandito pa po yung ating konsulado sa Hong Kong, habang nandito yung Philippine Overseas Labor Office, binibigay po namin ang assurance sa ating mga Filipino migrant workers na kami po’y handang tumulong sa kanila sa lahat ng kanilang mga problema, mula sa problema sa kanilang mga amo o kanilang mga employer, o di kaya, problema nila laban sa kanilang Hong Kong agency at saka laban sa kanilang mga Philippine employment agencies,” he said. ### PND