For 13 years, a Filipina worked as domestic helper for an employer in Hong Kong but her family was shocked when she was fired last year and sent home without explanation from her employer. She died a few months later. So, what really happened?
According to Kwentong OFW, Lorenza A. Tabucol left her small children back in 1997 to work as domestic helper in Hong Kong. In 2004, she got hired by Agnes Ip who would become her employer for 13 years – until she was unceremoniously dumped and sent back home last August 5, 2016.
Tabucol’s family was shocked to learn that her employer had fired her. They soon learned that the OFW was actually dying of a terminal illness.
It turned out that back in 2015, Tabucol was bitten by a snake while walking her employer’s dog. Although she was given medicine for the snake bike, her condition got worse a few months later. She was soon too weak to work but had not filed a complaint against her employer, possibly for personal reasons.
Tabucol was brought to the hospital but tests revealed that she has stage IV breast cancer, something that her family believes was indirectly caused by the snake bite.
Instead of helping the sick domestic helper who served her for 13 years, Ip unceremoniously fired her. The contract was terminated and Tabucol was sent home to Solano, Nueva Vizcaya where her family used up all her savings of around Php100,000 ($2,000) to have her treated.
Sadly, Tabucol died a few months later. But her grieving children were surprised to learn that she could have received $36,000 (Php1.8 million) as long service pay from her employer, according to Kwentong OFW.
They could have also received Php50,000 from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) as medical assistance.
The children are now filing for burial assistance from OWWA but Labor Attache Jalilo dela Torre told them there’s little chance that they could recover the money from her previous employer.
He said, “Long service pay claim lapses three months after termination of employment.”
It’s just so sad that they did not consult a lawyer immediately after their mother was terminated from her job; but it is also highly likely that they were too busy bringing her to the hospital and making sure she would survive her ordeal with breast cancer…
The only consolation Tabucol’s family has for now is that they stand to receive burial assistance from OWWA and that her daughter, Fritzie T. Fonbuena, had managed to graduate from college before she died. At least she could find a good job and send her younger brother to school.