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4 infected DHs to join bosses after release, but 1 more faces removal

25 September 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao

4 OFWs found infected in HK won't be sent back home like 3 others 

Four newly arrived Filipina domestic helpers who were released on Sept 24 from coronavirus treatment in Hong Kong hospitals will be taking up their new jobs after their employers agreed to admit them after letting them rest for awhile elsewhere.

But another helper who tested positive at Hong Kong airport on her arrival from Manila on Sept 9 was told her employer had backed out. She is still awaiting word from the Immigration Department on whether she’d be sent back home.

If that happens, she’d be the fourth new arrival to be removed by Immigration upon release from hospital because her prospective employer cancelled their work contract.

Pindutin para sa detalye!

The fate of the four newly-arrived Filipina DHs was shared by Marites Palma, founder of Social Justice for Migrant Workers and a contributor of The SUN.

Palma (in white blouse) with her Social Justice members give food aid to quarantined OFWs

The initial removals have prompted Consul General Raly Tejada to ask the Hong Kong government to clarify Immigration’s apparent shift in policy from the previous practice of giving terminated foreign helpers 14 days to wind up their business in the city.

As of midnight last night, the third would-be helper to be removed from Hong Kong after her hospital confinement for Covid-19 was put on a flight back to Manila, said Palma.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang Kwentong Dream Love

The expelled helper, C.A., a 35-year-old mother of four, was distraught last night after being told by her Hong Kong employment agency, Golden Win, about her impending removal.

In a telephone interview, the worker said the loss of job is a big blow to her family, as she had spent Php100,000 in borrowed money to come to Hong Kong, only to be sent back home. The former Kuwait OFW said her family depended on her as her husband, a construction worker, gets only intermittent jobs.

She said Php45,000 of what she borrowed went to pay fees charged by her employment agency in Manila, Placewell International Services, including Php5,980 for the nucleic acid test, or swab test, at the Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City.

Pindutin para sa detalye

Welfare Officer Marivic Castro Clarin of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration office in Hong Kong, said the expelled workers can qualify for a Php20,000 livelihood assistance from OWWA and a Php10,000 or US$200 handout under the DOLE-OWWA Akap program.

“Yes, but di ko po alam ang local situation sa bawat region. Limited din ang galaw ng mga tao namin. Marami na po ang nahawa sa kanila,” Clarin replied when asked about her agency’s assistance for the removed helpers.

C.A. said she and 12 other first-timers who were sent by their agency to the Lung Center for a swab test on Sept 7, received their certificates of negative result the next day.

PINDUTIN PARA SA DETALYE

On the morning of Sept 9, C.A. and the rest of the group arrived at the Hong Kong International Airport and were immediately given a swab test.

She and E.G.S., the second to be sent home after discharge from hospital, were among five members of their batch to test positive for Covid-19, and were immediately taken to various public hospitals.

C.A. said the nasal swab at the airport showed a negative result for the virus, but her deep-throat saliva sample tested positive. She was perplexed because both tests conducted on her at the Lung Center found none of the virus.

The first to be sent home on Sept 19 was Ermelyn Deno, who tested positive at the airport only a week earlier. She was taken directly to Hong Kong airport after being discharged from seven days of confinement at Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital.

Then, on Sept 23, Immigration sent home E.G.S., four days after she was released from Princess Margaret Hospital. She stayed in Manila for two days, but flew on to her home in Bacolod City late this afternoon.

She said she faces another problem when she gets there, as she does not have a required clearance from her barangay to return home.

But Clarin, who handled E.G.S.’s case, said the barangay clearance would be issued only after the worker completes a 14-day quarantine in her locality.

E.G.S. said before boarding her flight to Bacolod that she was going home with just  Php1,000 cash aid from Placewell, her agency in Manila, plus an additional Php500 for delivering some documents to them from Hong Kong.

Adding to her distress was that she was given a piece of luggage that belonged to someone else, so she had only the dress she arrived in the whole time she was in Hong Kong, except when she was in hospital.

She said she was able to change into a new dress delivered to her by an OWWA staff in Manila at the request of Clarin.

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