MANILA — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) expressed alarm Tuesday over the move of a Labor official to deport a Taiwan-based Filipina caregiver over her alleged online criticism against the Philippine government.
Fidel Macauyag, labor attaché of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Taichung City, Taiwan sought the deportation of a Pinay caregiver who allegedly posted "nasty and malevolent materials intended to cause hatred" against President Rodrigo Duterte on social media.
In a statement Tuesday, CHR spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia reiterated that Filipinos' "freedom of speech, of expression, or the right of the people to petition the government for redress of grievance" are guaranteed in Bill of Rights of the 1987 Constitution.
"It is then a cause of concern when a Labor Attaché works towards the deportation of Filipina caregiver... employed in Yunlin County, Taiwan, over what appears to be an exercise of her right to express concerns on the plight of fellow Filipinos in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic," De Guia said.
De Guia stressed that labor offices abroad exist primarily to protect migrant workers who may run into trouble as they try to provide better livelihood for their families back in the Philippines.
"[O]ur Philippine Overseas Labor Offices are present in different countries as an extension of our government’s Department of Labor and Employment. Their primary mandate is to promote and protect the general welfare of OFWs," De Guia said.
Several groups including NAGKAISA, a coalition of labor groups in the Philippines, and the Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan had earlier said that Macauyag's move was "anti-worker," "repressive and draconian," and "deeply troubling."
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Sunday assured that "due process" would be observed in deliberating Macauyag's complaint against the OFW.