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DH upbeat about reuniting with son despite job loss

07 February 2021

 By Vir B. Lumicao 

Aileen was among those who slept at HK Airport overnight for their Friday morning flight

Domestic worker Aileen O. is a different breed of OFW. When her female employer told her to pack up and took her to the airport Thursday night, she meekly accepted her fate and looked to reuniting with her daughter and pursuing her backyard business.

The 27-year-old mom was calm and collected when told at Hong Kong International Airport that she could choose to stay on and look for another employer. She had by then spent just over a year with her employer, Ms. Li.

Pindutin para sa detalye!

She was whisked to the airport by her employer two weeks after she gave a one-month notice of termination. She expected to be gone by Feb 20 but was told she needed to leave immediately. She did not resist.

According to Aileen, she decided to quit after her female employer became distraught and difficult to deal with after frequent quarrels with her husband. The helper also overheard her employers fighting and talking about getting a divorce.

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Aileen said the employer paid her monthly salary of $4,800 for January, gave her $900 for her annual leave and a $100 travel allowance. The employer also gave her $158 for her air ticket from Manila to Tacloban.        

She said she was unaware of the 14-day allowance given by Immigration Department to terminated helpers, otherwise she could have used the time to buy some chocolates for her 7-year-old son.


ut even after being told about the grace period, Aileen said, “Uuwi na lang po siguro ako sa amin.” (I might as well go home).

She said foremost on her mind was settling a family problem. Secondly, she was eager to manage her thriving poultry business.

Aileen's poultry farm earns enough for her family to live on

Earlier Thursday evening, she appealed for help in securing a suitcase or a bag large enough to hold her stuff through the Facebook page of DWC Help Group.

She said in that post that she had no money and hadn’t had lunch and dinner when the employer told her to leave. She thought she could get out of the house on her home Friday morning.

But her employer had other plans for her. “I’ve just lost my job, I won’t be able to pay your salary anymore,” Aileen quoted Li as saying when she got home Thursday night, before saying the helper needed to leave the next day.


Di ko alam, iyon pala ihahatid na niya ako sa airport,” she said. (I didn’t realize she was taking me to the airport.)

The day before, Aileen felt compelled to challenge Li to just let her go, when the employer reportedly stopped her from charging her gadgets and switched off lights inside her room.

Pindutin para sa detalye

Before this, Li allegedly shoved her and wanted to hit her because she made a little noise while the children were asleep, but Aileen warned her that was against the law

But their conflict started weeks earlier, when the employers’ marital woes appear to have affected Li so much so that she would often shout at Aileen, find fault in her work and give her leftover food to eat. Aileen took out her phone and showed a photo of a saucer of fish bones the employer allegedly gave her one evening for dinner.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love

All these prompted her to give the employer a month’s notice of termination on Jan 20. In response, Li booked her on a Cathay Pacific flight to Manila for Feb 20. 

“Dati naman ay mabait siya sa akin. Maganda ang relasyon namin. Alaga ako sa pagkain. Bigla na lang nagbago,” Aileen said. (She used to be kind to me. Our relationship was good and she gave me enough food. Lately, she changed.)

Aileen recalled that when she left her first Hong Kong employer after just three months last year, Li hired her and paid the former employer $4,520 in lieu of notice so she would let the helper g

The helper said Li became mean and short-fused after fights with her husband. Even her children were not spared from her bad temper. At times, Aileen would see her stare out of their 15th floor window, tears rolling down her cheeks. 


Despite her abrupt departure, Aileen showed no sign of worry. When asked about what she would do back home, she said she would tend her poultry business.

She said with a little savings in Saudi Arabia, where she worked for two years before coming here, she bought a lot in her hometown of MacArthur, Samar and set up the poultry. It has 200 layers that produce five to six trays of eggs a day that her mother gathers.

Aileen said everyday regular buyers came to pick up the produce, paying Php210 per tray.  The eggs are sold out because her poultry farm is the only one in her village.

“Malakas ang poultry. Kaya gusto ko iyon na lang gagawin ko, ako ang mag-manage,” said Aileen. (Poultry is good business. So I want to focus on it, I want to manage it.)

She added that when she gets home, she will use her one month’s salary for business expansion by buying feeds and retailing them to neighborhood customers.

“I want to show others what an OFW can do at home. I don’t want to be an OFW forever,” she said. 


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