Filipinos express privacy, venue concerns over president Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to Hong Kong
While the consulate says a venue for meeting has not been confirmed, chairman of workers’ group says it is widely believed it will be held at Kai Tak Cruise Terminal
Filipino community leaders in Hong Kong have expressed concerns over the arrangements for President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to the city, saying the likely venue is difficult to reach, and the collection of attendees’ personal information is a step too far.
On April 12, Duterte will visit the city for the second time in just 10 months, after he attends the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference set for April 8-11 in Boao, Hainan Province in China.
The president’s April 12 meeting with Filipinos in the city comes as the local community continues to express outrage over the sudden recall of respected labour attaché Jalilo Dela Torre, who has been instrumental in banning window cleaning as part of domestic helpers’ duties and who has been fighting against human trafficking of Filipino workers to Russia and Turkey.
The consulate has sent out invites to those interested in attending the meeting with Duterte via Facebook, after inviting them to sign up online with the diplomatic mission on or before April 2. Those wishing to attend are required to provide their passport and Hong Kong ID card information.
Eman Villanueva, chairman of Bayan Hong Kong and Macau, an umbrella group of Filipino migrant workers based in Hong Kong, said the venue was widely believed to be the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, adding the president “might be wanting to hide as it is difficult to go there as it is isolated”. The consulate, however, confirmed the venue has yet to be announced.
Villanueva said several groups would protest on Sunday and he would snub the meeting with Duterte.
“I am not interested. I don’t think he is the kind of person who is open to suggestions. The government already has their own design. We would rather protest on his arrival.”
Edwina Antonio of Bethune House shelter for domestic helpers expressed unease over the collection of personal passport and ID card information to screen meeting participants.
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“They can get all your personal details and we don’t know if the information will be sent to the Philippines. We hope the consulate can protect our information.”
Villanueva said the requirements for online submission of travel document details “was over-acting”.
“Especially as you are targeting [overseas Filipino workers]. Do you really have to screen OFWs that much? He is not coming here on a Sunday (and then) he makes it more difficult for workers to go to the venue.”
The president’s April 12 meeting will take place from 3pm to 9pm.
Meanwhile, Dela Torre attended the Big Band and A Cappella concert at the City Hall in Central on Sunday night, where he told the Post that he did not think that he was being recalled because he was an appointee of Duterte’s predecessor, former president Noynoy Aquino.