'No work, no pay' Filipinos in China struggle financially as pandemic persists

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 30 2020 05:15 PM

A man wearing a face mask gets out through barriers, which have been built up to block buildings from a street in Wuhan, Hubei province, the epicenter of China's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, March 29, 2020. Aly Song, Reuters

MANILA- Most Filipino migrant workers in mainland China face income blows as businesses remain shut to protect against another wave of COVID-19 infections, Philippine Ambassador to China Chito Sta. Romana said Monday as he appealed for financial help for the workers.

While there are no Filipinos infected with COVID-19, many are employed under a "no work, no pay" scheme which heavily hit their finances, Sta. Romana said, noting that many are working as teachers, musicians, and household workers.

“Mayroong mga economic problems, difficulties ang ilan nating mga kababayan dahil walang trabaho o naghihintay ng trabaho until ma-normalize completely ang sitwasyon,” Sta. Romana said in a televised press briefing.

(Our countrymen here are beset with economic problems, difficulties because of lack of jobs until the situation normalizes.)

“Ang problema dito trabaho dahil karamihan sa mga kababayan natin ay teachers, musicians, hotel workers at household workers eh walang klase ngayon, eh karamihan sa kanila no work, no pay,” he added.

(Work is the problem because many are employed as teachers, musicians, hotel workers, and household workers. Since there are no classes, many of them have no pay.)

Undocumented Filipino migrant workers in China who want to return to the Philippines are also experiencing difficulties since they are now required to present an exit visa, Sta. Romana said.

The Philippine envoy said the embassy is coordinating with the Department of Labor and Employment on possible aid that could be extended to the overseas Filipino workers.

China was widely accused of a delayed response when suspected cases first emerged in December, with a young doctor reprimanded for "spreading rumors" when he tried to raise the alarm.

But the world's most populous country has since won praise from the World Health Organization for its efforts to lock down affected areas and isolate patients.

– With a report from Reuters