Responsive Ad Slot




Buhay Pinay



Philippine News

Join us at Facebook!

Overstaying Filipina stricken with cancer appeals for help

21 October 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap 

Rowena lost so much blood she had to stay at Eastern Hospital for 3 weeks for transfusions

A 49-year-old Filipina who has overstayed her visa for the past four years and is in hospital with stage 2 cervical cancer is appealing for help, as she faces the prospect of being deported to the Philippines, sick and penniless.

Rowena R., who called The SUN from her sickbed at Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital today, Oct. 21, said she has been told that she will be discharged tomorrow.

She does not know if the police will arrest and detain her, or she will be allowed to stay with a friend or at a shelter while her case is taken to court.

But her biggest fear according to her is, “wala po akong kapera-pera.” (I don’t have a single cent with me).

Rowena said she was taken to the hospital on Oct. 3, after she sought treatment from a private doctor in Sai Ying Pun, suffering from excessive bleeding, a common symptom of cervical cancer.

She had bled so much by then that in her first two weeks in hospital, four bags of blood had to be pumped into her veins. Afterwards, Rowena was disheartened when she was presented with a hospital bill for $30,000, which she knew she had no way of paying.

Call now!

When she was about to be discharged, she bled profusely again that she had to be kept in hospital for another week, and go through another round of blood transfusion. Rowena said she does not know yet how much the additional bill would come up to.

Natatakot po ako na baka pag nasa labas na ako ay duguin na naman ako nang husto, e wala nga akong pera,” she said. (I am scared that I might bleed severely again after being discharged, when I have no money at all).

Rowena said she started working in Hong Kong 14 years ago at the age of 35, after she split from her husband whom she described as a womanizer.



She worked in Hong Kong uninterruptedly for 10 years, but became unlucky with her last employer who hired her in 2017. She was terminated after only three months because, as Rowena simply said, “Hindi niya ako gusto.” (She simply didn’t like me).

Losing her job proved devastating to Rowena, who comes from a poor farming family in Nueva Ecija, and is a single mother of three girls, now aged between 24 and 29. “Hirap na hirap po kami, at walang maaasahan,” she said (We are so hard-up with no one to turn to).

She decided to bite the bullet, and go underground. But because she is faint of heart, Rowena said she took on odd jobs sparingly, not wanting to risk arrest. She did not earn much, but it was enough to provide for the basic needs of her growing family.



By then, her eldest and youngest daughters had gotten married, said Rowena, but their home life was no better than when they were all just relying on her income.

Rowena is about to be disharged from hospital, but has nowhere to go

Asked why she did not surrender when the going was rough, she admits, “Yun na nga po ang pagkakamali ko,” she said. (That was a mistake on my part).

She would have continued living dangerously had cancer not compounded her already desperate situation.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang Kwentong Dream Love

If she had a choice, Rowena said she would like to continue being treated in Hong Kong. But even with help from the Consulate’s assistance to nationals section and the very kindly social worker who worked on her case, the hospital turned down her request to stay on.

Sabi nila sa akin pwede akong magpa radiation o chemotherapy, pero dapat may bayad. Aabot daw ng $100,000,” she said. (They told me I could have radiation or chemotherapy, but it would have to be paid. It would cost something like $100,000).

But for now, even the threat of being arrested and jailed for overstaying does not concern Rowena as much as the prospect of being penniless and sick when she gets home.

She hopes some kind-hearted souls would pitch in so she could have a bit of money to start a business that would help pay for her family’s meager needs and hopefully, cover the cost of her follow-up treatments for cancer.

Anyone who wishes to help Rowena fulfill her simple wish may contact Marites Palma, founder of Social Justice for Migrant Workers at 6872 0498 or the group's treasurer,  Maria Teresa Toralba at 55806248.

Don't Miss