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OFW with ovarian cancer abandoned by employer in hospital

07 November 2017

By Daisy CL Mandap

A Filipina domestic worker who got kicked by her 4-year-old ward in the legs just two months into her job, then left on her own at Tuen Mun hospital by her employer, has found out she has a bigger problem to worry about.

Doctors who checked on Julie M., 40, just told her she has ovarian cancer. What’s worse, she may have to be operated on for the severe bruising on her legs caused by her ward’s unintentional but fierce kick.

Told about Julie’s situation on Oct 23, a week after she was left fending for herself at the hospital, Labor Attache Jalilo dela Torre immediately put the Filipina’s employer on the watch list. That meant the employer, Benny Lam, wouldn’t be able to hire another Filipino worker again, unless he can convince the Philippine Overseas Labor Office to lift the ban.

Labatt dela Torre is also set to visit Julie himself, to try and dissuade her from going home.

Julie M is confined at Tuen Mun hospital where she was taken by her employer after being kicked by her ward, and abandoned. 
Several people who have visited Julie, including a welfare officer, have relayed the information that Julie has become despondent since being told of her illness, and wants to go back home to Cebu. Her family has apparently concurred with the decision.

In a brief telephone conversation with The SUN, Julie said that a week after she was accidentally kicked by her young ward, her whole leg swelled up.

Initially, her employer reportedly hesitated in taking her to the hospital, but relented eventually and took her to a clinic on Oct. 15.  After examining her, the doctor reportedly conferred with the employer, who then told her to go to Tuen Mun hospital.

Julie told The SUN her employer never visited or inquired into her condition afterwards. She was stuck there for a week with no one visiting her and with not much on her until a friend decided to contact The SUN for help on her behalf.

Labatt dela Torre is keen to convince Julie to hang on so she could continue receiving treatment. As she should still be on sick leave her employer cannot terminate her contract, which means she would still have her Hong Kong ID that allows her to be treated in a public hospital.

She may also use the time to file sick leave and other benefits from her employer.

And as she has worked in Hong Kong for just over two months, she is still covered by the 2-year mandatory insurance for all OFWs departing the Philippines for the first time.

 Among the benefits is the “compassionate visit” clause which provides that the worker could ask the insurer to pay for the airfare of a relative who will visit or tend to her at her sickbed.

The mandatory insurance also pays for a “subsistence allowance” for an OFW who files a case to asset her rights, and compensation in case of death or permanent incapacity.

For now, several OFWs are taking turns in visiting Julie in hopes of cheering her up, including a few Ilonggas in Tuen Mun and members of an Evangelical group who were all alerted to Julie’s condition by The SUN and Bombo Radyo contributor Merly T. Bunda.

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