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How to stand up for your rights

18 June 2018

By George Manalansan

Ever experienced being treated wrongly because you’re a migrant worker, and a member of an ethnic minority group?

This was what happened on May 31 to Rowena Bustos, 47 and a native of Pampanga, who found herself being overcharged for some grocery items she bought from a store in Shaukeiwan.

After going through the receipt given her, Bustos realized there had been a mistake, and decided to go back to complain to the cashier. But instead of explaining the charges, the cashier took one look at her and ignored her request to go over the receipt with her. The cashier then spoke in Cantonese to another store employee, and the two of them told Bustos to leave the store.

The Filipinas was so upset at the way she was treated. The grocery staff did not even listen to what she was complaining about, even if she tried her best to sound respectful. On the way back home, she weighed things through. Should she let things be, or should she seek redress? She decided to seek justice.

She called up her employer, a former policeman, and he immediately agreed to go back with her to the store.

At the store, the cashier was suddenly meek, and readily admitted her mistake on checking the receipt. She also apologized for the error, and Bustos’ employer graciously accepted the apology, having proved his point.

The former police officer commended the helper for her vigilance and courage in defending her rights despite being bullied.

Bustos for her part, is advising her fellow domestic workers to always stand up for their rights, and to never let anyone degrade them.

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