The unreasonable, untimely death of Ivy, OFW in HK

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The Filipino woman who was punched by her boyfriend last Dec. 22, died on Jan. 2, Sunday, one week after confinement at the ICU of Pamela Yeude hospital, an Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) officer in Hong Kong said.

Records from the Hong Kong police reports show that on Dec. 22, a few minutes past 9 pm, a 42-year-old Filipino male punched the Filipino woman inside her boarding house on Nullah Lane, Wan Chai. The woman was knocked unconscious up until when paramedics arrived. She was brought first to Ruttonjee hospital and then transferred to Pamela Yeude. Police said that in their preliminary investigation, the two had a dispute that night. The neighbor called the police when they heard the commotion, police added. The following day, Dec. 23, the Filipino man was arrested. Both were domestic workers.

The Filipino man’s case was heard at Eastern Magistracy court on Jan. 3, he was identified as Bernie Valencia, 42 years old. At first, he was charged with wounding a person, but when the Filipina’s death was reported, Principal Magistrate Ms, Ada Yim said that the case might be raised to manslaughter. Assistance to Nationals (ATN ) of the Philippine Consulate General officer, said that the man-made a request for his sister to bring some personal hygiene supplies when ATN officers had a chance to talk to him at the prison area of the Eastern court. The case was adjourned on Feb. 7, 2022.

The Filipino woman, identified as Ivy Quialang from Isabela province, was 37 years old and is survived by two young daughters, ages 15 and 11. 

Ivy, the 4th child of six siblings, came to Hong Kong to work as a domestic worker in 2014. Just like every overseas Filipino worker (OFW), Ivy left her two daughters to earn money for food, shelter, and education. Her eldest sister Analyn takes care of her daughters as their guardian.

Analyn said that Ivy was a very kind person. As a sister and a mother to her children, Ivy would always think of her family before herself. She would try to give everything to their parents and her daughters. On every family occasion, Ivy would always call and send them cash or items for the occasion. 

On Dec. 22, Ivy had a video call with her family, the day before the birthday of her mother. None could imagine that it would be their last moments together.

The following day, Analyn received a call from Ivy’s friend. Ivy’s friend told them about the boarding house incident and informed her that Ivy was in the hospital. She tried to show no reaction to the news since Ivy’s children were nearby. Analyn said she informed her other siblings of the news and they privately discussed Ivy’s condition

On Dec. 25, Ivy’s daughters and their parents waited for Ivy’s video call in time for the holiday season. Analyn and her siblings explained to them that maybe Ivy was just busy, to calm them down. As her two daughters waited every day for their mother’s call, Analyn said she could no longer think of an excuse.

Two days before New Year’s Eve, Analyn decided to inform the rest of the family of Ivy’s condition. She could no longer bear lying to them again. The daughters and parents cried when they learned the truth. 

Analyn said that they had no idea who Bernie Valencia was since Ivy never talked about him.

On Jan. 2, as the whole family was about to go to church, they were given the news that Ivy passed away, leaving the whole family devastated.

Analyn said the hospital informed her that Ivy died of a brain hemorrhage. Ivy’s brain was severely damaged, the nurse who called her relayed to her, Analyn added.

Ivy came to Hong Kong eight years ago and started working as a domestic worker with the same employer at the time before the incident. She finished her fourth contract in November 2021. While in the process of applying for a new employer and waiting for her employment visa, Ivy stayed in Hong Kong. Although Immigration rules state that foreign domestic workers (FDWs) should go back to their country of origin after finishing a contract, due to the pandemic, most FDWs stayed in Hong Kong delaying this rule mainly due to quarantine challenges being difficult for both the FDW and employer. Ivy was in the process of obtaining an employment contract.

At OWWA’s record, Ivy’s employment visa was approved on 23 December, one day after she was punched and lost consciousness. She was in the ICU and passed away on Jan. 2.

Technically, Ivy was still holding a tourist visa while waiting for her employment visa at the time of her death. Since she was not technically employed, the supposed employer who signed the contract has no obligations to her, the OWWA officer explained.

OWWA officer said that the case was reported to the main office and would arrange for the repatriation of the body, and the office of the ATN would be responsible for any of the documentation and other matters for the repatriation procedure of Ivy’s body.

At the time this story is written Ivy’s body is now at the Victoria Mortuary in Kennedy Town.

“Nagpapakatatag po kami sa pagkawala ni Ivy, lalu na yung dalawa niyang anak, kasi po huling kita pa po namin sa kanya ay April 2019, at di na po siya nakauwi dahil sa pandemic”, Analyn said on how they’re coping with the loss of Ivy. 

When asked what she could say on Ivy’s case, Analyn said “ Ang masasabi ko lang po ay sana ilayo ng Panginoon na di maulit po ang nangyari sa kapatid namin sa kahit sino dahil kawawa ang mga anak na unang apektado sa pagkawala ng mahal sa buhay lalo na kung kapwa Pilipino pa ang gumawa non”. 

“At sa gumawa nito sa kapatid ko, sana nag isip muna ng maraming beses bago niya yun ginawa dahil wala siyang karapatan na saktan niya ang kapatid ko anuman ang dahilan” was Analyn’s comment to Bernie Valencia, who is now the custody of Correctional Services Department (CSD) of Hong Kong government.