PH, Indonesia submit joint demarche on Boarding facilities to HK Ombudsman

The Consulates General of the Philippines and Indonesia in Hongkong have submitted their joint demarche (political initiative) to the Office of the Ombudsman of Hong Kong, calling for improved living conditions of foreign domestic helpers (FDH) staying at boarding facilities in the territory.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the document was submitted last February 11 and was received by Hongkong Assistant Ombudsman Sara Tse.

JOINT DEMARCHE. (Left photo) Philippine Consul General to Hong Kong Raly Tejada (left) and Indonesian Consul General Ricky Suhendar (right) sign a joint demarche to the Office of the Ombudsman of Hong Kong on issues related to boarding facilities for Foreign Domestic Helpers. (Right photo) Consul General Tejada (right) with Assistant Ombudsman Sara Tse (middle) and Consul General Suhendar (left) at the Office of the Ombudsman of Hong Kong. (Hong Kong PCG photos)

“The joint demarche mainly called for improved living conditions for boarding facilities and sought the Hongkong government’s assistance in ensuring that appropriate health and safety standards are put in place to ensure the well-being of FDHs among others,” the DFA said.

The demarche came on the wake of the significant number of coronavirus infections recorded among domestic helpers who stayed in boarding facilities in Hong Kong.

The Hongkong Standard said domestic helpers were allowed to stay in boarding houses for two weeks while looking for jobs. Some accommodations, however, are allegedly overcrowded and violate building usage, risking transmission among tenants.

In January this year, the Hongkong Ombudsman initiated an inquiry to evaluate government regulations on these boarding houses. The joint demarche was a response to the Ombudsman’s request for recommendations regarding the issue.