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Ex-HK, Macau OFW dies in China after overstaying visa

22 March 2024


Katherine who is shown here, had no known ailment, says her sister Geraldine

The perils faced by undocumented workers abroad could not be as poignantly illustrated as when they suddenly pass on, their exact location unknown, and no family members or friends close by to give them comfort.

This was what happened to 47-year-old Katherine Marquez Aguinaldo, who reportedly succumbed to a heart attack Thursday night in Shanghai, but the exact whereabouts of her remains are still unknown as of this writing.


According to her younger sister Geraldine, who works as a migrant worker in Hong Kong, the employer only sent her a message in Chinese saying Katherine was “in a funeral home” and for her to contact the Philippine Consulate in Shanghai for more information.

The employer, who might be wary given Katherine’s undocumented status, briefly informed Geraldine that her mother was the one who found her sister unconscious in bed.


“She die in the evening and my mother find her, call the emergency but the doctor say die, (sic)” said the employer in a text message to Geraldine.

The news of her death was announced on Facebook by Letty, another Hong Kong-based domestic worker who said Katherine’s employer for whom she used to work, called her up at 1am today to inform her about what happened, and to ask that she relays the news to the deceased’s relatives.


Sino po nakakakilala sa kanya, nasa China po sya, namatay po sya kagabi, 1am tumawag si amo sa kin kagabi. Kasama niya sa room yung dalawang bata, na heart attack daw po sya. Pakisabi sa mga relatives nya,” said Letty in her post, which was accompanied by a copy of Katherine’s passport details.

(Anyone who happens to know her (Katherine), she is in China, she died last night, her employer called me at 1am. She was with the two kids inside the room, she reportedly had a heart attack. Please inform her relatives).


Letty also shared in an exchange with a commenter that Katherine was her replacement, and when asked why the passport she shared had already expired, she said it was because the deceased was already “tnt” or “tago nang tago,” meaning she no longer had a valid visa.

Katherine’s passport shows it was issued on Jan 30, 2017, and expired on Jan 20, 2022.

She further shared that Katherine’s employer only learned of her death when one of the children who was in same room started crying, and her mother decided to check on them.

One of those who promptly took action was Marites Palma, founder of Social Justice for Migrant Workers, who happens to be in Isabela waiting for the release of her employment visa. On learning the whereabouts of Katherine’s family, Palma immediately took the deceased’s 24-year-old son to the Department of Migrant Workers in Tuguegarao, Cagayan, to file a report.

Palma also managed to contact Geraldine, but got no further lead initially, apart from confirming that the deceased had indeed, been overstaying in China for years.

Geraldine told The SUN her sister had no known disease and they were in fact, messaging each other shortly before she reportedly died. Geraldine said she had no clue as to where in Shanghai her sister was working, and where her remains were taken.

Before she went underground in China, Katherine reportedly worked in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia, then decided to go home. When she went abroad again, she went to Macau but for unknown reason, headed on to China.

Geraldine is asking anyone with information on Katherine's  previous employment and knows where her remains are, to contact the Migrant Workers Office in Hong Kong immediately so the information could be relayed to them. 

She is also asking for help from the Consulate to ensure the speedy repatriation of her sister's body.'

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