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Remains of Filipina killed in Tai Po road accident brought home

20 November 2018

Teresita Hernandez
By Daisy CL Mandap

For more than 20 years, Teresita Agina Hernandez had worked as a domestic worker in Hong Kong, and seemed to have liked it so much that even after all her four children had finished university, she decided to stay on.

But fate had other plans for her, for at exactly 6:56 on Oct. 29, Teresita, 55, was declared dead at Prince of Wales Hospital in Shatin, eight hours after she was hit by a private car on Ting Kok Road in Tai Po.

Teresita’s remains were brought home on Nov. 19, accompanied by her eldest and only daughter Marites Laurel, who had flown to Hong Kong from Ghana where she works as an accountant.

They were met at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila by Teresita’s three sons: Marlon, Marvin and Mark, as well as her estranged husband. From there they proceeded to their Mindoro hometown, where Teresita is set to be buried on Saturday, Nov. 24.

According to Marites, Hong Kong police told her that they were still investigating the case. There were reportedly told that Teresita, who was hit at a pedestrian crossing, might have crossed while the traffic light was still red, but this has yet to be confirmed.
The scene of the accident in Taipo

But whatever the cause of the accident, Teresita’s family was told they could still apply for compensation under the Traffic Accident Victims Assistance (TAVA) scheme, run by the Social Welfare Department.

They have also been advised by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office to apply for legal aid so they could pursue a separate claim against the insurers of the car that hit Teresita.

However, they could not apply for employee compensation, as this can be collected only from an employer if the worker had died due to an accident while at work, or due to a work-related illness.

As Teresita was killed on a Sunday, and on the street near her boarding house, (and not at her workplace), her death could not be deemed as work-related.

Also, since she had been working for just over three years for her Korean employer, Lee Young-chun and his actress-wife Kathy, her family could not claim long service pay.

The Lees, Garcia and Laurel at the wake
Despite this, the Lees had reportedly been extra generous to their helper’s family. They accommodated Marites at their Tai Kok Tsui home while she was preparing for the repatriation of her mother’s remains, and gave her an allowance plus financial help.

The couple also reportedly bought a white casket for Teresita at Marites’ request, and after the wake at Universal Funeral Parlor in Hunghom on Nov. 18, treated all the about 100 mourners to lunch.

Back in the Philippines, the family could claim a total of Php220,000 from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration as payout for death caused by accident and funeral expenses.

Marites related that her mother had been working for just herself for the past several years, as she and her siblings had already finished their studies, and were all gainfully employed.

Apart from her, one of her brothers, Marlon, is also working abroad, as an engineer in Taiwan, making the family quite well off.

Their youngest, Mark, was the only one left at their home in Quezon City where Teresita would live while on holiday in the Philippines, as he was still single.

According to Teresita’s cousin Gemma Garcia, Teresita provided mostly for her brood while working abroad, but her husband, from whom she had separated in 2000, also pitched in.

From all accounts, it was a family that was just waiting for a beloved family member to come home for good, but tragedy intervened.

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