The Philippine Consulate in Macau is planning to open its doors for services even on Sundays following demands from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) there, particularly domestic helpers.
However, it's request for a three-month trial of the new schedule has yet to be approved by the Department of Affairs, according to a report on Macau Times, citing Consul General Lilybeth Deapera.
"We asked for authorization from Manila but we have not received that yet, so it’s just plans," Macau Times quoted Deapera as saying.
Migrante-Macau, a group of OFWs in the city, meanwhile, welcomed the Philippine Consulate General's plan.
Emerlina de Lina, the group's chairperson, considers the news as "victory," noting that they've been campaigning for it since early this year.
"The Consulate has been sitting on this demand since January when we first broached it in a dialogue as admitted by ConGen Deapera herself," De Lina said in a statement.
"This need has been validated by a survey we conducted last month."
De Lina said it is important for the Consulate to make available crucial services on Sundays as this is the day when most of Filipino domestic helpers have their dayoff.
She, however, questioned the decision of the Consulate to make such an arrangement only on a trial basis for three months.
"Why only a trial and why only for three months? This is too arbitrary and goes against the reality that Filipinos, especially domestic workers, will find it easier to do their business with the Consulate on Sundays unlike on weekdays when they are more pressured because they still have to go back to work," she said.
De Lina also said that the Consulate’s fear that not too many will avail of Sunday services will not hold if the new operation is in place regularly and information of the arrangement is sufficiently transmitted to the Filipino community.
She added that many non-domestic workers in Macau also have their day-off on a Sunday.
The Macau Times report said the Consulate has opened its doors on Sundays a few years ago, but only a few local Filipino workers requested for services. —KBK, GMA News