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Filipina theft victim to go home as sked, thanks to fellow OFWs

30 July 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap 

The stolen bag was dumped beside a pillar on Theatre Lane leading to Queen's Road

Remember the Filipina domestic worker who lost her bag on Chater Road, with all her money and important documents inside, just eight days before her scheduled return home?

Well, she will be able to go home as scheduled on Monday, Aug 2, thanks to kind-hearted fellow Filipinos who have pitched in to help replace part of the $12,000 that she lost, and who have accompanied her to the Consulate to obtain a travel document in place of her stolen passport.


In a phone conversation, Rizalyn M. Caro said the online group, Domestic Workers Corner, has raised an amount that may not cover all her losses, but is substantial enough for her to bring home to her family back in Isabela.

DWC founder Rodelia Villar has reportedly called her up to say they will be turning over the money to her this Sunday, in time for her flight back home.

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Caro is grateful, too, to the Mission for Migrant Workers, in particular her case officer Esther Bangcawayan, who helped her report the theft to the police immediately, and to the Consulate to get the one-way travel document that will allow her to fly home.

The Mission has also been providing food and shelter to Caro, who would otherwise have been more despondent after losing the money she had saved up for years, apart from her passport and Hong Kong ID card.


She would have lost other important documents, too, like a sealed letter from Immigration that she’s meant to present at the airport on her departure as well as her plane ticket, had the sneaky thief not left them inside her bag that was dumped shortly after it was stolen.

Caro said she was informed about a bag that had been left beside a pillar on Theatre Lane, the MTR exit that leads to Queen's Road Central, by someone who read the post about the theft shared by DWC.

Gone were the crisp dollar bills she had taken out of her “alkansya” (piggy bank) when it became clear that Immigration was not going to let her process a new work contract in Hong Kong after being terminated twice in succession.


Caro, a single mother who has worked in Hong Kong for five years, said she became unlucky with her last two employers who fired her in succession.

Through those years, she said she put aside all the crisp $20, $50 and $100 bills she could lay her hands on and dropped them into her piggy bank. She even went to the extent of offering to change the lai see money that her friends got during Chinese New Year to keep up this saving quirk.

When she finally broke the piggy bank, she found out that she had saved a total of about $12,000 and decided to take out all the money with her last Sunday, Jul 25, hoping to remit much of it home.

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Mga alas dose pa lang noon, kaya may oras pa para magpadala ng pera,” she recalled. (It was just about noon at that time, so there was enough time to remit money).

But in a twist of fate, she decided to pass by Chater Road on the way to the remittance center to buy some inexpensive T-shirts for “pasalubong” back home.

She said she made two stops along the way while buying t-shirts. At the last stop near St George’s building she absent-mindedly put down her bag on the pavement as it had grown heavy from some of the shirts she had stuffed inside. In a split second it was gone.

Iyak ako ng iyak noon. Nagtanong ako sa dalawang grupo na nasa malapit, pero wala daw nakakita kung sino ang kumuha.” (I cried so much then. I asked two groups nearby if they had seen the person who took my bag but they all said no.

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Caro said the thief or thieves must have passed by her sides during the getaway, but she was surprised that no one around had seen them because the area was full of people.

With help from the Mission, she immediately reported the theft to the Central Waterfront Station. Later in the afternoon, someone had reported seeing her bag dumped somewhere, with her money, passport and HKID gone.

She also went to some remittance shops in nearby World-Wide Plaza, and asked to be alerted in case someone with a wad of crisp dollar notes would try to remit or get them changed into other currencies.

Staff at one of the shops did call her later to say that a man had just changed $3000 in crisp HK dollar bills to peso, but when she and Bangcawayan followed up on the tip, they were told that because of privacy concerns, they could not disclose any information about the transaction.

Since then, she had not heard from the police again. She said she was planning to drop by the station before flying home to ask if the CCTV cameras in the area have been checked in case they caught the culprit in the act.

Chater Road on a Sunday could be this busy

Caro was also preparing to go to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration to find out what other preparations she need to go ahead of her flight, and what financial assistance she could apply for when she gets home.

Earlier, she said she had been to the Department of Social Welfare and Development office at the Consulate where she was given $300, but with the admonition that “Walang pera ang DSWD dito, nasa Pilipinas lahat.” (The DWSD office here has no money, it’s all in the Philippines).

The DSWD officer also reportedly told Caro and her companion that she herself was only earning Php8,000.

At first, Caro said she felt sorry for herself because some people who learned about her plight from a Facebook post of the Mission had bashed her online, blaming her for being careless, even stupid, for being so neglectful. Some even said wrongly that she had overstayed her visa because she was carrying a sealed letter from Immigration.

But she eventually got over the feeling when she learned of how her fellow migrant workers, led by DWC and some readers of The SUN, had taken it upon themselves to raise money for her so she would not go home empty-handed and despondent.

Those who want to send a little help to Rizalyn through DWC may check out this link:

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