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OFW in suicide video not from HK, says OWWA

05 November 2019

By Daisy CL Mandap

The Filipina who apparently filmed her own suicide live on Facebook was not same person who hanged herself in Mong Kok on Nov. 2, says an official of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

Welfare officer Virsie B. Tamayao made the statement in the wake of the spread of the video showing a Filipina calmly preparing a noose from a blanket draped on a ceiling fan, then proceeding to hang herself with it.
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Tamayao also dismissed reports the suicide victim in HK had stage 4 cancer

It emerged from later posts by her friends and relatives that the Filipina in the disturbing video was working in Oman. She reportedly took her own life because of a soured relationship.

Her death came shortly after an OFW in Hong Kong, named Elen M. T., also  hanged herself, using a fleece blanket she tied to the rails of her upper bunk bed in her employer’s house at 11 Hoi Fai Road in Mong Kok.
What made her take her own life remains a puzzle.

Tamayao said Elen appeared to have debt problems, as shown by various demand letters sent to her by financing companies.

“But the amount was not big, definitely not insurmountable,” said Tamayao, who spoke with the agency that recruited Elen to Hong Kong on Nov 4.

Tamayao also dismissed talks Elen was suffering from stage 4 ovarian cancer and had taken her life because her employer decided not to renew their contract.
“Wala siyang cancer,” said Tamayao. She also described the employer as “mabait”. But she confirmed Elen’s contract was due to end on Nov. 20 this year.

OWWA records show Elen started working in Hong Kong in 2012, but went back to the Philippines after being terminated, before deciding to return in 2017.

Information relayed to the Consulate indicate Elen had two children, an 18-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old son. She had long separated from her husband, and had a Filipino boyfriend living in Italy who reportedly visited her in Hong Kong only last month.

She would have turned 38 this coming Nov 10.

Pictures on her Facebook wall and those posted by her friends showed Elen to be outgoing, and frequently took part in beauty and modeling contests organized by various groups in the Filipino community.

However, her recent posts suggested problems with her love life. In one of them, Elen complained about the difficulty of having a long-distance relationship.
On the day she died, Elen reportedly cleaned and fixed the house before retiring to her bedroom to kill herself. She did not leave a suicide note.

Tamayao said it was the employer’s two-year-old child who first saw her “che che” but did not realize what had happened. “Ang sabi daw ng bata nakatulog habang nakatayo ang che che nya.”

The employer, along with the agency representative, met with the Consulate’s assistance to nationals section on Nov. 5, to work out the details of the repatriation.

Elen was originally from Tanauan, Batangas but lived with her family in Novaliches, Quezon City.

Since she was still covered by mandatory insurance, Elen’s family will receive USD$10,000 in death benefit from her Philippines-based insurer, apart from the Php120,000 death and burial benefits from OWWA. Both insurers allow payouts even in suicide cases.

OFWs who are depressed may also seek counseling from
Social Welfare Attache Beth Dy, shown here addressing cancer patients
Tamayao said she hopes the two unfortunate incidents would not spark copycat suicides. She said anyone who suffers from depression or anxiety is welcome to approach her or anyone from OWWA.

Alternatively, they can talk to Social Welfare Attache Beth Dy or her assistant at the Consulate, or call The Samaritans' 24-hour hotline, 2896 0000.
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