The Filipino community in Macau celebrated the 121st Proclamation of Philippine Independence, themed “Courage of the Nation, Compassion for the People,” to remind the community that independence is “an ongoing process with both challenges and reward.”
All 86 posts of the consulate from around the globe celebrated the Philippines’ Independence Day, which is commemorated every June 12.
Commenting on the current relationship of the Philippines and Macau, Philippine Consul General in Macau, Lilybeth Deapera remarked, “the relationship between the Philippines and Macau is growing from strength to strength.”
The Philippine official said that the region still has an ongoing dialogue with the Philippines and that the two jurisdictions continuously cooperate on business activities.
“We deeply appreciate the valuable contribution of the Consulate General of the Republic of the Philippines and local Filipino communities to the progress of the Macau SAR in the past two decades,” said Secretary for Administration and Justice, Sonia Chan, according to the transcript from her speech.
“With concerted efforts, we look forward to opening up new prospects for cooperation in various aspects for many years to come.”
Last week, the government announced that domestic workers are not included in the minimum wage bill, drawing criticism from migrant groups.
According to Deapera, they were informed by the Labor Affairs Bureau (DSAL) that such decision was dictated by market forces: “From what I understand, there are groups who are studying this aspect. They have made petitions to the government. We’ve been having discussions with the government, but we were told by DSAL that this is something that is dictated by market forces.”
Questioned whether this decision was fair as many domestic workers thought the bill was discriminatory, the official replied, “it’s the market forces that dictate and of course the workers also have options to not work here.”
Deapera implied that the community should also consider how they could protect their rights.
Another issue that affects the migrants are those who come to the SAR on tourist visas but then seek employment. The government is considering banning such move, requiring non-locals who plan to work in the SAR to have a work-permit document.
“If they come through the [Philippine Overseas Employment Agency], we know and we can provide support and protection in a way to them,” said Deapera, discouraging Filipinos from coming to the region as tourists to seek employment.
Sonia Chan: No comment on extradition woes
The Secretary for Administration and Justice, Sonia Chan, refused to comment over the extradition legislation riot in Hong Kong.
Questioned by the press yesterday on the sidelines of the Independence Day celebration of the Philippines hosted by the Philippine Consulate General, the official implied that she did not want to meddle with the neighboring SAR’s current matter.
“We are not commenting on the things that are happening in neighboring region,” Chan told the press.
With regards to regional judicial cooperation, Chan said that China, Hong Kong and Macau have yet to reach a consensus, and that there is no timetable for such an agreement.