5,000 Filipinos in Hong Kong lose jobs due to pandemic: community leader

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 25 2020 08:24 AM

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Some 5,000 Filipinos in Hong Kong lost their jobs due to disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic, a community leader said Monday. 

Some expatriates who employ Filipinos had difficulty returning to the Chinese special administrative region due to pandemic travel bans, said Dolores Balladares-Pelaez, chairperson of the United Filipinos in Hong Kong. 

Hong Kong's entertainment centers, which provide work to many Filipinos, also remained shut to prevent the spread of the respiratory disease, she said. 

"Marami po tayong kababayang nawalan ng trabaho. Alam ko po mga 5,000 Filipinos, hindi lang po mga domestic workers, pati iyong mga residente mismo," Balladares-Pelaez told DZMM. 

(Many of our compatriots lost their jobs. I know around 5,000 Filipinos; not just domestic workers, but residents, too.) 

A masked anti-government protester holds a flag supporting Hong Kong independence during a march against Beijing's plans to impose national security legislation in Hong Kong, China May 24, 2020. Tyrone Siu, Reuters

Hong Kong is home to some 230,000 Filipinos, most of whom are domestic workers, who earn a minimum of HK$4,630 (about P30,000) a month and must live with their employers in the city's notoriously small flats. 

The government has limited gatherings there to 8 people to contain the pandemic, said Balladares-Pelaez. 

She said she did not know any Filipino who was affected by a pro-democracy protest that drew thousands of people on Sunday against a controversial security law proposed by China. 

The Philippines will give $200 (P10,000) to OFWs who were left jobless by the pandemic, the labor department earlier said.