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Cast-out DH cancer victim dies

14 September 2018

By Vir B. Lumicao  

Joan, the cancer-stricken Filipina domestic worker who was reportedly driven out by her employer in the wee hours of May 1, 2017 while still on radiotherapy treatment, has died.

The 41-year-old single mother of three succumbed to cervical cancer on Aug 25 in her hometown of Guimba, Nueva Ecija, according to friends and church mates in Hong Kong.

Videos posted on social media by her siblings and friends showed her white coffin being carried by a squad of barangay tanods from her house to a nearby barrio chapel for a religious service and final tribute on Aug 27. She was buried in the village cemetery.

Joan found herself in the street after her employer drove her out in the wee hours of May 1, 2017.
Dozens of people who condoled with her family filled the church and lined up to lay red roses on Joan’s coffin after grieving family members had paid their last respects.

A swift shot from a video camera revealed the emaciated face of the woman who had looked cheerful in her earlier photographs with siblings and friends, long before she contracted the disease that led to her departure from HK.

Joan was reportedly roused from sleep and driven out just after midnight on May 1, 2017 by her employer, for whom she had worked for two years and two months.

The employer packed her belongings in a suitcase and two striped bags and tried to send her off in a taxi to her church’s shelter, saying she had used up all her leave credits.

A fellow Filipina domestic worker took pictures of her looking forlorn on the street, and posted them on Facebook, drawing concern from many people in the community. The concerned Filipina also took her home initially, and brought her to the hospital to continue her treatment.

At the time, Joan was undergoing radiotherapy treatment for Stage 3 to 4 cervical cancer at Tseung Kwan O Hospital in Po Lam. She had her 20th treatment on May 11, 2017.

Among those who visited her at the hospital were officers from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, who also helped with her repatriation.

 Joan was diagnosed with cancer on Mar. 5, 2017. She was admitted for treatment at the hospital, and was discharged on Mar. 31, with instructions to continue her daily radiotherapy sessions.

Joan had reportedly been advised by the Help for Domestic Workers to file a case under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance against her employer because of the way she was kicked out in the early hours of the morning, sick and fragile. But it would appear the case was never filed.

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