Walden Bello, PH lawmakers to hold dialogue with OFWs in HK
HONG KONG – Amid uncertainty over his political future, resigned Akbayan party-list representative Walden Bello is set to lead a delegation from the Philippine House of Representatives to Hong Kong this weekend, where they will hold meetings with various groups, including the Filipino migrant community. (READ: Akbayan rep resigns over Aquino's Mamasapano 'cover up')
Bello will be joined by 7 other legislators: Gabriela’s Emmi de Jesus, Ang Nars’ Leah Paquiz, OFW Family’s Johnny Revilla, Alay Buhay’s Wes Gatchalian, Angkla’s Jesulito Manalo, and Angelina Tan of Quezon’s 4th district.
A formal notice of the group’s itinerary was sent to the consulate just a day before Bello announced his resignation from the administration ally Akbayan Party List, saying he had lost trust in President Benigno S. Aquino III. (WATCH: Bello to Aquino: Scratch me off your list of allies)
But despite this unexpected turn, Consul General Bernardita Catalla said the legislators’ visit will go ahead as scheduled. (READ: Bello: Aquino can 'scratch me off his list of allies')
The congressional delegation is expected to arrive on Friday, March 13, and will immediately head for talks with Hong Kong government officials on issues affecting Filipino migrant workers.
On Saturday, March 14, the group will meet with local unions and officials of the consulate.
The latter meeting is expected to focus on a report by a fact-finding team formed by Catalla last year to look into allegations of misdemeanors against former labor attaché Manuel Roldan, including allowing his former driver to operate an employment agency.
Sunday is mainly reserved for a 4-hour forum and dialogue with members of the Filipino community, with the illegal collection of placement fees by recruitment agencies as the likely focus.
In earlier interviews with The SUN, Bello said the idea of holding a public hearing in Hong Kong was prompted by a report submitted to his committee about the widespread collection of excessive placement fees from Hong Kong-bound OFWs.
It will be the first time that a public hearing by Congress is held in Hong Kong, where about 170,000 Filipinos now work as domestic helpers. – Rappler.com
This article was republished with perrmission from The SUN-HK, a content partner of Rappler