Responsive Ad Slot




Buhay Pinay



Philippine News

Join us at Facebook!

Consulate notes spike in cancer deaths among Filipinos in HK

17 November 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao 

Funeral honors in Iloilo for Merly, who died of uterus cancer in HK in January

A total of 26 Filipinos, including residents of Hong Kong, had succumbed to various types of cancer from January to October this year alone, exceeding by nearly 37% the death count for the whole of last year, according to data obtained from the Consulate.

The assistance to nationals section said all the 26 died in the city and their human remains or ashes had been repatriated home. An ATN officer said that in the whole of last year, the number of Filipino cancer patients who died in Hong Kong was 19.

Prominent victims who died this year were The SUN contributor Merly Bunda, 56, who lost to cancer of the uterus on Jan 18; and Maria Teresa “Tek” Barro, 56, former president of Radiant Organization of Amiable Drivers (Road HK) from 2015 to 2018, who died from complications of cancer on Aug 7.


Not included is Baby Jane Allas, who figured prominently in the news after suing her Pakistani employer who fired her after learning she had Stage 3 cervical cancer. Allas succumbed to kidney failure on Mar 27 in her hometown of Narra, Palawan.

ATN attends to the repatriation of deceased Filipinos in Hong Kong, while the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration is tasked with attending to the medical needs of sick migrant workers and liaising with their employers and agencies.

Separately, OWWA said it has received reports of 114 new cancer cases among Filipina domestic helpers since the start of the year until Nov 10.


Various community organizations like the Mission for Migrant Workers have also been looking after cancer patients on their own, especially those who need the support of their employers so they could continue their treatment in Hong Kong.

A few others have been quietly seeking treatment on their own, with their employers providing support by extending their work contract so they can continue subsidized hospitalization and treatment until they are well enough to return home.

Mercy, who flew home in the last stage of her cancer, also passed earlier this year

The 10-month figure disclosed by Welfare Officer Virsie Tamayao indicates an average of 11 new cases reported to OWWA each month since January.


A spike could result in the remaining weeks of the year, given the number of workers who have not seen it fit to seek help from OWWA because they are being helped by other groups.

With scores of workers seeking help daily, both Tamayao and newly arrived Welof Dina Daquigan said they have their hands full working on a range of cases each day. As a result, OWWA could barely manage to maintain a data base on all medical cases referred to them for assistance.

According to Daquigan, in the first week of November alone, more than 10 cancer-stricken workers had sought their help.

How? Press this ad.

Asked whether OWWA has plans to conduct educational programs on cancer prevention for Filipino migrant workers, she indicated her office could attend to that in 2022.

We hope to do that next year as it is almost end of the year. As of this time, we still have many cases to face daily,” Daquigan said.

Marites Palma, founder of Social Justice for Migrant Workers, said at least four new cancer cases were brought to her group’s attention recently.


One went home last Saturday after being treated for Stage 2 breast cancer at Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in Chai Wan. Two others in the same hospital also have breast cancer while the fourth is being treated for Stage 2 colon cancer in Tuen Mun Hospital.

Palma has said in an earlier interview that since January this year, her group has been asked for help by more than 20 workers afflicted with cancer in various stages.

On Nov. 4, Jenny Merdadero, another worker who has ovarian cancer flew home to Iloilo, while four days earlier, Elma dela Cruz also flew home after being treated for her brain tumor which resulted after her breast cancer had spread to other parts of her body.

Also about to go home is Tonette Simborio, who only last week, had happily shared with The SUN how her employer decided to renew their contract despite knowing she has stage 3 cancer of the uterus which has spread to her liver.

Simborio reported visiting OWWA earlier today with her employer so she could be assisted on her return home next week.

Tonette says she will leave HK next week to continue her cancer treatment back home 

Also at Eastern Hospital are two other FDWs with stage 4 cancer. One has overstayed her visa for four years and is battling with cervical cancer. The other is already on visitor’s visa after failing to process a new employment contract, and has abdominal cancer.

Both have been confined for more than a month because of continuous bleeding and fever, suggesting an infection. If they could, they would just want to go home, the patients said.

Don't Miss