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Dismissed sick Filipina DH flies home with just $40 in pocket

14 August 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap 

The Filipina who was still still in pain, was made to pack hurriedly less than 2 days before her flight

A Filipina domestic helper who was terminated on the spot left Hong Kong early on Friday with just $40 in her wallet, after deciding not to pursue an advice to stay on and file claims from both her employer and employment agency.

EJ Camacho, who is now in quarantine in a hotel in Quezon City, said she would not even have a single cent left with her had a fellow Filipina who she rode with on the way to Hong Kong International Airport not paid for her bus fare.

Another friend sent $60 to her GCash account so she could have money at least for some basic necessities such as soap and shampoo, in case she needed them during or after her quarantine, before she flies back to her hometown in Misamis Oriental.


Camacho who first came to Hong Kong in August last year to work for her employer, KY Chow, in Kai Tak, Kowloon, encountered problems after she began experiencing abdominal pain.

She went to a private doctor who reportedly told her she has PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome. She was referred to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kowloon where she was admitted for tests after being told the pain she was experiencing did not have anything to do with the diagnosis.

But after four days of various tests, doctors could not find anything that would explain her pain, and she was discharged.

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Despondent, Camacho asked her employer on Aug 9 to let her go home after a week because she still could not work well despite taking painkillers. However, Chow reportedly told her that was not possible, as a replacement for her needed to be found first.

But only two days later, Chow surprised the helper by saying she needed to leave that same day, and that a flight had already been booked for her at 2 am on Aug 13.

That same afternoon, the employer took Camacho to their employment agency in Mong Kok where she was made to sign a letter stating that she had resigned effective on Aug 9 although the letter itself was dated Aug 11.

Pindutin para sa detalye

Gawa po ito ni employer na pinapirmahan sa akin,” Camacho said (This was written by my employer which I was asked to sign).

The agency also made them sign a termination notice for Immigration, stating the reason that they had mutually agreed to end their contract “for personal reason”.

This was obviously meant to free the employer of having to pay a month’s salary in lieu of notice even if Camacho was made to leave on the spot.


Camacho said that under the agency representative’s direction, the employer deducted $3,177  from what she was to get as termination payment, representing the balance of the $6,500 cash advance that she requested a month earlier.

After adding up her unpaid salary up to Aug 8 ($1,672); annual leave pay ($1,064) and $200 for food and travelling allowance, Camacho ended up still owing her employer $241.

The agency decided that to get even this from her, her employer should not pay for her fare for her connecting flight from Manila to her hometown. She was then booked for the cheapest flight to Manila with barely a day to spare.

The amount shown was deducted from what was left of her cash advance
After this, Chow was told by the agency to give the helper $200, which was meant to last until she could get on the flight home.

From that amount, Camacho was forced to spend $120 in taking a taxi home from the agency’s office to its shelter in Causeway Bay. She said it was getting late by then and her belongings were strewn about as she was not given enough time to pack properly before leaving her employer’s house.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love

Nung araw na dinala ako sa agency para sa pirmahan, bago akong nakapunta sa accommodation pinag swab pa ako sa Mong Kok kaya gabi na ako nakarating sa agency para kunin ang gamit ko,” she said. (When I was taken to the agency to sign documents, I was made to take a swab test for Covid-19 in Mong Kok before being told to go to their shelter in Causeway Bay.

With the $80 that was left her, Camacho went to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration office at United Centre in Admiralty on Thursday to get advice on how she could prepare for her flight early the next day and whether she could get any financial help.

After staff guided her on which apps to download for her quarantine and Covid tests in Manila, Camacho was given referral letters so she could avail of medical benefit worth up to P20,000 and a further P20,000 for livelihood assistance.

She received no cash, so Camacho had to shell out a further $40 before getting back to the agency’s shelter to hurriedly pack for her trip to the airport with only a few hours to spare.

On being told about the worker’s dire state, Welfare Officer Virsie Tamayao tried to call  Camacho on Friday, but was unsuccessful.

By then the worker had decided to just go home, and not take heed of an advice to postpone her departure for up to the 14 days she was entitled so she could consider pursuing claims against her employer and her agency.

Camacho said that despite having worked in Kuwait previously, her recruitment agency in the Philippines, Michelangelo, charged her more than P30,000 for all sorts of fees, ranging from training she did not need or get, and supposed payment for SSS, Pag-IBIG and PhilHealth.

She was told she could have filed a claim with the Philippine Overseas Labor Office to get back the money that her agency had illegally charged her.

She could have also asked her employer to pay her a month’s pay in lieu of notice as she was told to leave on the spot, and made to sign a document that falsely declared she had voluntarily resigned that same day.

Camacho said at first that she would think through the advice to stay on and file claim. By late afternoon, however, she could no longer be reached by phone, nor did she manage to get online again as she was busy packing and preparing to fly home.

The only bright spot she could look forward to now is the prospect of reuniting with her husband and three children who are eagerly awaiting her return.

(Donations to Camacho could be sent to her GCash account at 09519458840).

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