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DH claims being forced to sign termination letter

08 October 2017

By Vir B. Lumicao

For two months, domestic worker Marjorie Glo Hop endured sleeping in the living room of her employer’s house in Wong Tai Sin watched by two CCTV cameras, until she decided to quit.

Hop wrote a letter to the Immigration Department saying she was leaving her job a month from Sept 24 because her employer, a Mrs Li, had violated their contract. But Li allegedly found the letter and seized it, then fired Hop.

Hop’s firing added to the increasing number of terminations of foreign domestic helpers in recent months, as noted by the Bethune House Migrant Women’s Refuge.

Bethune’s executive director Edwina Antonio told The SUN that terminations were on the rise recently, as indicated by overcrowding in shelters across Hong Kong.

“Puno ang mga shelter, pati ang yung sa POLO at sa Caritas,” Antonio said. She said that at times she would receive referrals for shelter from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office.

Hop sent out a distress call at about 4pm on Sept 26 to fellow Isabela native and The SUN writer Marites Palma, who promptly picked up the 24-year-old first-time maid in San Po Kong, then took her to a guesthouse.

Hop, single, showed a copy of a resignation letter which she said was prepared by Li, and which she was allegedly coerced to sign in the presence of an officer of the Labour Office in San Po Kong.

“Pumirma ako kasi natakot ako na baka kung hindi ko pipirmahan ay ipa-blacklist niya ako at hindi na ako makakapagtrabaho rito,” Hop reportedly told Palma.

The letter said Hop informed Li on Sept 24 that she was breaking her contract. It also said the Filipina and Li had agreed that Hop won’t pay the employer one month’s salary in lieu of notice.

The maid said Li paid her $4,209in wages and bought her an air ticket for a 9:45 flight to Manila on Sept 26. But Hop decided to stay on and file a case against her employer on the advice of her relatives and friends.

Hop was to go to the Philippine Overseas Labor Office the next day to file a complaint against Li and seek her blacklisting so she won’t be able to hire a helper again.

Apart from making her sleep in the living room, Li reportedly told Hop she could take a day off only twice and month, and to do house chores before leaving the house and on returning.

The Filipina also said she was forbidden from using her cellphone while at work.

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