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Employer’s tearful tribute spices up DWEP graduation

06 March 2017

This graduate had to receive her certificate with her ward in her arms because the baby refused to go with her mom. 

By Daisy CL Mandap

It could have been just another graduation ceremony for domestic workers who completed skills training or as in this case, a series of informative and empowering seminars.

But an emotional tribute from an employer to the 146 graduates of batch 2 of Hong Kong University’s Domestic Workers Programme on Feb. 19 made all the difference.

Journalist Jeremy John Tredinnick had to pause briefly in an apparent attempt to hold back tears while speaking about the valuable role played by domestic workers, including his family’s own, Cita Vargas.

Above left, Jeremy John Tredinnuick,
editor of Business Traveller
magazine, gives a heartfelt response
for the employers.
“I remember telling Cita when she first came to work for us that she should not think for a second that her job is not an important one because we are putting in her charge....(pause)...the most precious, valuable things to us, our children,” said Tredinnick.

“That is true for a majority of domestic workers in Hong Kong. You are in charge of the care and safety members of family members, both young and old. It’s a position of huge responsibility, not in any way demeaning or menial.”

He went on further to pay particular tribute to the graduates, saying they were an inspiration for giving up their valuable days off in the past year to improve their knowledge and self confidence.
Also giving tribute to both the graduates and the people behind the program was Vice Consul Fatima Quintin who said in her keynote address that the Philippine Consulate remains committed to working with DWEP on empowering Filipino migrants.

“Rest assured that the Philippine Consulate General will continue to encourage our workers to walk off the streets and find their way into the Domestic Workers Empowerment Programme,” Quintin said.

She then addressed the graduates: “I salute you for your hard work and diligence,”  before ending with, “Patuloy kayong mangarap para sa isang magandang buhay”.

Dr. Michael Manio, who heads DWEP, said that in the three years that the program has been in place, 4,500 domestic workers have registered to become members.

But to qualify as graduates, members must have completed at least 80% of the seminars and other activities conducted throughout the year, at a frequency of roughly twice a month.

The graduates are given examinations and ranked by mentors according to their performances.
From this year’s batch, chosen as valedictorian was Ilane Doculan, who received a grade of 97.6; and salutatorian was Irene Bangcado, with a grade of 95.075.

In her commencement address, Doculan spoke of how uncertain she was about fitting in at first, but with help from mentors, was able to overcome her doubts.

“Thank you for the opportunity that helped us boost our self-confidence and image,” she said.
The others who graduated with honors in order of rank were: Emily Dilla, Cristeta Manalo, Minda Cleofe, Delia Derder, Eleen Valdez, Charmine Grace Bermejo, Nancy Tapay, Marianita Nazario, Margarita Albios and Analyn Soriano.

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