THE Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa described as “impulsive, one-sided and unenlightened” the criticisms hurled against Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello for his “solidarity trip” in Hong Kong last week at the height of huge prodemocracy protests in this rich Chinese enclave.
“It was a solidarity mission both for the pro-democracy protesters – by expressing his support to their noble aspiration as a steadfast social activist himself and considering that they are part of a broader, interdependent and global movement for justice and democracy – and for the thousands of overseas Filipino workers, mostly domestic workers – by checking with the Philippine consulate whether contingency plans for the OFWs are in place for any eventuality,” Frank Mero, chairperson of Sentro, said.
Mero added that “while we understand well the concerns for the safety and continued employment of the tens of thousands of OFWs in Hong Kong, we should not likewise be restrained by antiquated box mentality or parochialism: because as we need Hong Kong, it also needs us; and social advocacies have indeed no boundaries.”
“Universal justice and democracy – like the long envisioned genuine empowerment of the workers – will remain elusive and even ‘romantic,’ but only if we do not actively seek them,” Mero asserted.
Sentro has an affiliate in Hong Kong, the Progressive Labor Union of Domestic Workers (PLU-APL), which readily supported the protests and whose leaders accompanied Walden in the protest area. PLU-APL is affiliated to the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU).