Press Release
August 15, 2019

...says Macau airport possible egress solution for evacuation

As tensions continue to escalate in Hong Kong from the string of anti-government protests, and with the Chinese People's Liberation Army deploying troops to its border, Senator Nancy Binay urged the Department of Foreign Affairs and Philippine Overseas Employment Agency to act quickly to ensure the safety of Filipinos working in the city.

China's news outlets recently released a video showing military vehicles, including tanks, amassing near Hong Kong's border.

"Hindi na siguro kailangan pa ng gobyerno natin na maghintay bago pa lumala ang krisis sa Hong Kong. Umaasa akong may plano na ang DFA at POEA sa pagtitiyak ng safety ng mga OFW natin," said Binay.

She called on the agencies to "prepare for the worst" and activate their contingency plans as soon as possible so that Filipinos do not become casualties.

"Kailangan meron designated point person for this particular case, at sana may ready hotline, social media channel, or any alternative for OFWs and their families to be able to contact each other should communications be down," she pointed out.

In the 2014 pro-democracy protest, the Hong Kong government shut down telecommunication networks leaving all mobile communications paralyzed.

Binay also urged authorities to touch base with Macau in the event that a mass evacuation is required.

"We're still not sure if Macau would be affected, pero baka magandang i-explore din ang possibility na gawing exit point ang Macau kung lumala man ang sitwasyon," she said.

Binay also said it would be prudent if the Philippine government arranged and coordinated with Filipino communities and organizations based in Hong Kong regarding immediate action and evacuation plans should the political situation worsen.

"We have a sizable Filipino community in the city, close to 200,000, kaya humihingi tayo ng ayuda sa mga organized Filipino communities sa Hong Kong maging sa mga NGOs na tumutulong sa mga OFW na makipag-ugnayan at makipagtulungan sa ating konsulado. No one should be left behind if things take a turn for the worse," the senator said.

The legislator also assured Hong Kong-based OFWs that the government is ready to extend help.

"Kung lumala pa -huwag naman sana- ang krisis sa Hong Kong at kakailanganin ng repatriation, umasa po kayo na tutulungan kayo ng pamahalaan lalo na sa usapin ng trabaho," Binay said.

She also expressed confidence that Foreign Affairs secretary Teddy Locsin, Jr., can handle the situation.

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