Tuesday, September 2, 2014   




Helpers worry but deliver solidarity message

Lina Leung

Monday, August 30, 2010

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Around 400 domestic helpers - all of them sad and some of them fearful - gathered in Central's Chater Road yesterday to mourn the eight tourists killed in Manila last week.

Looking at the backlash against his country, Filipino Migrant Workers' Union vice-chairman Eman Villanueva said there have been few cases of ill- treatment and dismissals of helpers and the union did not expect many.

There have been reports of two dismissals, one of a employer not renewing a contract and one of backing out of a contract. There was also a case of an elderly man spitting on a maid, but the circumstances were unclear.

Many Filipinos expressed sympathy, and some cried during a program of prayer, a "speak-out" session and forum and then a candle-light vigil.

"We feel ashamed," said Leonila Bermudez. "The Philippine police were stupid and slow. The Philippine president lacks experience, or maybe he is just incompetent."

Cynthia Amistad said Manila obviously lacked the resources to tackle the crisis situation. "I was angry," she said.

Amistad also said she is not too worried about attacks on Filipinos here because the majority of Hong Kong people are open-minded.

Elma Oliva, who has been working in Hong Kong for 20 years, agreed: "I don't think Hong Kong people will harm us. Having worked here for such a long time, I have confidence in the people."

But others expressed fear and anxiety.

Vicky Casia said some employers have changed their attitudes toward their helpers.

Leny Galima said her employer was understanding but she experienced hatred on the street. "Someone shouted `Filipinos are rubbish' at me," she said. "I felt bad and sad."

Lucy Aquino said she tried to hide the fact she was Filipino when she took her employer's parents to hospital.

"My employer's family understands Filipinos in Hong Kong are innocent, but some people may question us," she said.


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