On July 12, 2022, the Department of Migrant Workers office was fully prepared to provide assistance to overseas Filipino workers based in Macau who had been exposed to COVID-19 or would be affected by the weeklong suspension of all commercial and industrial business activities due to the recent surge in cases.
Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople of the Department of Migrant Workers urged Filipino workers in Macau to comply with the government’s instructions by staying at home and following health protocols aimed at breaking the chain of transmission in the community.
It is estimated that there are 26,400 overseas Filipino workers in Macau, with approximately half of them employed as household helpers. Unlike in Hong Kong, where most household staff live with their employers, DMW Office Ready to Assist OFWs in Macau, the majority of household helpers reside in their own homes under a “live-out” arrangement.
Filipino Community Leaders in Macau Meet to Discuss Assistance to OFWs
DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Eddie de Vega, held a phone meeting over the weekend with representatives from the Philippine Consulate in Macau, including Consul-General Porfirio Mayo Jr., as well as leaders of Filipino communities. The purpose of the meeting was to coordinate efforts in reaching out to as many affected Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) as possible.
According to Ople, the assessment of Labor Attaché Atty. Ma. Nena German suggests that there is no significant likelihood of mass worker layoffs during the week-long suspension of non-essential business activities. This temporary measure is solely aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus and is health-related in nature.
The situation is being closely monitored due to the Macau government’s declaration of a ‘No Pay Leave’ policy for the entire week. The Philippine Consul General plans to utilize diplomatic channels to express concerns regarding this labor policy to the relevant authorities in Macau. In the meantime, efforts are underway to provide COVID-care packages and food packs to affected OFWs who may lack the resources or means to purchase essential supplies and medications.
Impact of Suspension Order on OFWs in Macau
COVID-19 epidemic, all foreign workers in Macau have been requested to undergo daily personal Rapid Tests and undergo the Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAT) every other day. These tests are conducted at government-funded testing facilities.
So far, a total of 57 Filipinos, who are located in the red and yellow zones (command centers) as well as hotel quarantines, have displayed symptoms of the virus. Additionally, 26 other workers have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been identified as close contacts.
OWWA $200 COVID-19 Assistance for Active Members
The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Administrator, Hans Cacdac, has announced that active OWWA members who are symptomatic with COVID-19 and require hospitalization or facility isolation can avail themselves of the COVID After Care Financial Assistance amounting to $200.
During the week-long suspension period, the Philippine Consulate will continue to provide food packs, medicines, and vitamin supplements to affected Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to support them.
Additionally, the consulate is offering food packs to all OFWs while they are on suspension. These food packages are available for all OFWs affected by the suspension.
Philippines in Macau Helplines
OFWs may reach the Philippine Consulate in Macau through the following numbers:
- OWWA: 6258-7887
- POLO: 6687-2509
They may also contact their Filipino community groups and networks to submit their requests for assistance to the consulate.
The DMW (Department of Manpower and Welfare) Office in Macau is fully prepared and available to provide assistance to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). The office is dedicated to supporting OFWs with various needs and concerns they may have while working in Macau. The dmw-office-to-assist-ofws-macau aims to ensure the well-being and welfare of OFWs, offering guidance, advice, and resources to address any issues they may encounter. With their readiness to help, OFWs can rely on the DMW Office in Macau as a reliable support system throughout their employment in the region.