POLO blacklists HK employer who locked out Pinay
The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) has blacklisted the employer of a Filipino domestic worker in Kowloon Tong for allegedly locking her out of their flat, forcing her to sleep in the hallway, and other abuses.
Welfare Attache Virsie Tamayao said they immediately put the employer, surnamed Chun, on the POLO blacklist after photos of helper Lorna E.C., 54, sitting on the hallway outside their flat went viral online. Lorna decided to seek the Philippine Consulate General’s help on Oct. 21.
“Blacklisted kaagad kasi ang daming violations,” Tamayao said in an interview.
Lorna accused her employers of giving her only one to two hours to sleep; insufficient food or leftovers and sometimes with no dinner, lunch, or breakfast; pouring water over her when she is sleepy; telling her to write down her mistakes; hiding drinking water from her; and other forms of maltreatment.
“We also reported this to the Immigration Department and they are conducting an investigation. There will also be a hearing at the Labour Department on (Nov. 1),” Tamayao said.
Lorna’s employers had given her a one-month notice of termination on Oct. 17 after they accused her of lying and stealing rice.
“Nag-steal daw ako ng kanin. Kasi hindi nga ako binibigyan ng sapat na pagkain- -bibigyan ka nga, yung mga leftover sa loob ng ref na ilang araw na–nagsaing ako ng bigas kasi nagugutom na ako,” Lorna said.
“Wala naman siyang pagkain na binigay sa akin so nagsaing ako. Ang inulam ko na lang toyo. Yung parang patis ba. At least, may lasa yung kanin,” she said.
At around 4 a.m. on October 18, Lorna threw out the trash but was locked out of the flat and had to sleep outside. It was the pictures of her sitting outside that spread online.
“Nagpaalam naman ako kay sir pero di ako binuksan. Kumatok ako at nagdoorbell. Hindi ko alam kung sinadya o nakatulog si sir. Hanggang 9 a.m. ako sa labas,” Lorna said.
“Ganyan ang trabaho ko. Mga 10 p.m., nagpapatulog ng baby pagkatapos maglilinis ng CR at saka pa maglinis ng kalat sa kusina…may stove at yung mga pinggan na nakatambak sa sink,” she said.
“Dapat pagkatapos ko nun magtapon ng basura, mag-iron pa ako ng damit,” she added.
Lorna, who had been with her employers for almost six months, said this was the third time that she was locked out.
She usually slept on a bed in the kitchen, another contract violation, said Attache Arnel De Luna of the PCG-Assistance to Nationals Section.
De Luna was able to contact Lorna after her niece Marilou, who also works as a helper here in HK, also sought the consulate’s help because her aunt could not be reached on her phone initially.
Lorna said she does not get enough sleep but when her female employer notices that she is sleepy, she brings her to the bathroom and pours water over her. Lorna said this happened at least twice.
“Minsan nagpapakain ako ng bata, kasi kulang ako lagi sa tulog, so minsan nakakapikit ako. Bakit daw ako natutulog kahit nakaharap? Sabi ko, hindi ko sinasadya. I’m tired,” she said.
“Hihilain niya ako sa kubeta at bubuhusan ng tubig para gumising daw ako. So nakatayo ako dun, hinihintay ko ano order niya. Kung makakapit (ako sa pader), sabihin niya, ‘Don’t lean on the wall. Stand straight.’ Sabi ko, ‘I’m cold already.’” Lorna said.
“Titimplahin naman niya yung heater (at bubuhusan ulit sabay sabi) ‘Oh, you still feel cold?’ (Pagkatapos sabihin ko,) ‘Puwede change na ako (ng damit)? Nakailang oras na kasi ako(ng nakatayo). One to two hours,” she added.
She said her female employer would also sometimes press her finger on her forehead or push her head.
“Syempre dumidiin (yung kuko sa noo). Sabi niya hindi niya ako sinasaktan pero yung kanyang daliri tumuturok sa skin ko,” Lorna said.
“Tinutulak din ulo ko. Di naman niya tinatama sa wall basta itutulak pero masakit,” she added.
Lorna said she did not expect her female employer to be abusive when she started working for them in March.
“Naka four years ako sa dati kong amo. Nagchange employer ako pero hindi ko inasahan na ganito. Strikta siya. Masyado siyang perfectionist,” she said.
“Kahit tubig nila tinatago sa kwarto. Wala akong mainom na tubig. Safe ba kung iinom ka ng galing sa gripo? Mamaya, bibili ako ng ilang bottled water,” she said.
Lorna said she could not call the police when she was allegedly maltreated because her employers would confiscate her phone when she is in their flat and give it to her only during her day off.
On October 21, Lorna finally went to the PCG and was assisted by Tamayao, De Luna, and Social Welfare Attache Elizabeth Dy-Lim.