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Newly arrived Filipina says fellow DH is pressing her to pay $15k ‘placement fee’

28 November 2021

 By Daisy CL Mandap 

Complainant says the DH in HK is forcing many other new arrivals to pay her 'placement fee'

A newly arrived Filipina has sought help, saying a fellow domestic helper is charging her a total of $15,000 as ‘placement fee’, claiming she had paid money to an employment agency that placed the new helper in Hong Kong.

According to the complainant who asked not to be named, she was referred by a relative to the recruiter, M. Cordero, a longtime DH in Hong Kong, who hails from Talisay (ed: corrected), Negros Occidental.

The recruiter reportedly linked up the complainant with an employment agency in Hong Kong, which worked on her application starting in April this year.


In exchange for introducing her to the agency, Cordero  reportedly said the complainant should pay her a total of $9,000, payable in three monthly installments of $3,000 each.

But since she could only leave after a few months, the complainant said the DH-recruiter told her, “Gawin daw niyang five months ang babayaran ko sa kanya dahil po matagal akong naakalis at tumataas ang interes ng pera.”(She said I need to pay her for five months because I was not able to leave early and the interest on what I owe her has gone up)

Pindutin para sa detalye

That would mean her paying a total of $15,000 to someone who did nothing more than introduce her to a legitimate agency in Hong Kong, said the complainant.

But “I was the one who paid for my medical exam that cost P3,500 (and for) OWWA, pre-employment orientation seminar and others worth Php800, and I also paid Php6,000 for my Tesda training,” she added.

Despite this, the complainant felt she was obliged to pay the fixer what she was claiming, saying she thought this was how it was really like to get a job in Hong Kong.


Ang alam ko po talaga may placement fee ang Hong Kong. Nito ko lang nalaman talaga na bawal na iyan,” she said. (I really thought there is placement fee for Hong Kong. It is only now that I learned that it is now illegal).

But on her flight to Hong Kong, she said she sat next to a fellow helper who told her of the "strictly no placement fee policy” mandated by the Philippines for all domestic workers bound abroad.

Then, on her arrival at Penny’s Bay Quarantine Centre, she was given a copy of the “Practical Guide to Working in Hong Kong” which spelled out clearly that it is the employer who should pay for all the expenses incurred in recruiting a domestic worker from overseas. 


“Iniisip ko lang po kung ano ang tama. Iniisip ko kasi baka hindi ako makapunta ng Polo o OWWA agad,” she said. (I just want to know what is right as I may not be able to go to Polo or OWWA immediately).

But after having heard enough of Hong Kong’s policy on FDH recruitment, she was no longer surprised when told that what the DH-fixer was charging her was illegal. First, because the worker is not supposed to pay any processing fee and second, it is illegal for a FDH like her to engage in parttime work.


The affirmation just made her remember that there are other workers who have gone through the illegal recruiter, who is said to have claimed to having shelled out money to get them to Hong Kong.

While still in her hometown, she said she met at least two other applicants for Hong Kong who were forced to pay Cordero. One paid Php20,000 while the other gave Php25,000. They were supposed to pay her a total of Php40,000. However, when they got to Hong Kong, they were reportedly told they still owed her Php40,000.”

Press for details

May mga kasama pa ako na nasa Pilipinas pa at naghihintay ng booking sa hotel,” she said. (There are other recruits who are still in the Philippines and are just waiting to get booked in a <quarantine> hotel).

It took her a few more minutes to get over her feeling that she can be harmed by the recruiter if she did not pay up. She even asked that nothing be written that would lead to her identity.


But after being assured that Hong Kong is safe, and in fact, looks sternly at agents that fleece money off migrant workers, she said she would work with the other complainants on getting the illegal recruiter held to account for her misdeed.


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