Filipino workers in China appeal to government for help during COVID-19 crisis

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FILE PHOTO

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 30) — The country's ambassador to China says Filipinos working in the mainland are asking the government for help as they have not been able to work due to work stoppages because of COVID-19.

Ambassador Chito Sta. Romana said while Filipinos remain safe, they are becoming concerned about their income.

"Ang problema dito ay trabaho dahil ang karamihan ng mga kababayan natin ay teacher or musician or hotel worker at marami rin ang household worker."

[Translation: The problem here is the lack of work because most Filipinos are teachers or musicians or hotel workers or household workers.

Because they are not working, Sta. Romana said, this means Filipinos are not being paid.

"Nagtatanong nga sila kung makaasa sila sa DOLE, yung financial assistance or kung anumang tulong," said Sta. Romana.

[Translation: They are asking if they can count on the DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) to give them help or assistance.]

He pointed out teachers and hotel workers were being paid a "living wage" and not their whole salary.

Undocumented Filipino household workers have also said they wanted to go home, said the ambassador, but that comes with a different set of difficulties.

"You have to turn yourself in to the Chinese police, pero ang Chinese police ngayon, public security unit, they don't accept new surrenderees or those who are undocumented. You need an exit visa to be able to leave," he said.

Based on data from the Department of Foreign Affairs – Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs, there are 433,603 overseas Filipino workers in China.