A Filipina flew to Hong Kong to work as a domestic helper last June 12, 2017. She carried with her the dream of being financially secured in order to provide a better life for her family. Never in her wildest dreams did she know that something unpleasant was about to happen which might hinder her dream in becoming a reality.
Jen-Jen Gambol, a 24-year-old girl, tried her luck to work as a domestic helper for the very first time. She is from Nueva Vizcaya and a mother to two kids: a son who is 5 years old and a daughter aged 3.
When Jen-Jen arrived in Hong Kong last June 12, she was first brought by her Hong Kong agent, Sunlight Agency to its shelter in North Point. Last June 15, three days after her arrival, Gambol started to work for W.H. Tang who fetched her from the airport and took her home.
On her sixth day at work, while ironing the clothes of her employers at around 7 o’clock in the evening, Gambol accidentally burned the blouse of her female employer, Mrs. Tang, who was said to be a teacher. Terribly scared with what happened, she went to her to be honest and brave in admitting her fault and offered that she will just pay for the damage that she has done. But shortly after hearing the words that she said, Mrs. Tang yelled at her and started beating her.
According to Gambol, Mrs. Tang pulled her hair and slapped her several times. Gambol went to her room but Mrs. Tang followed her and hit her head with Tang’s mobile phone. The poor Filipina did not fight back and had acquired bruises on her left cheek and left upper arm. Her finger was also injured.
But it seemed like her employer was not yet done with her; Gambol was then obliged to wash more clothes. However, not done with washing yet, she was again instructed to iron their clothes. This time, she was so scared to commit the same mistake so she asked Mrs. Tang to give her instructions on how to iron their clothes properly. But instead of teaching her, her employer beat her more.
Gambol uttered in pain, “When I asked her to teach me how to do it so as I won’t damage them, she again flared up and grabbed my hair and banged my head on the bathroom wall.”
The following day, Mrs. Tang’s mother arrived in their house without a notice. Mrs. Tang at that time was said to be in her office. Later on, Mrs. Tang’s mother noticed that Gambol cannot move fast enough while doing the laundry, being asked, the helper told her what happened.
Advised by her female employer’s mother to tell Mr. Tang what happened, Gambol became hesitant for fear that instead of sympathizing with her, her male employer would even be angrier who by that time was also asleep.
Gambol might have been feeling hopeless and helpless by that time until another Filipina maid working for the couple noticed her injuries and told her to call 999 to ask for assistance.
Soon enough, some officers responded to her complaints, took photos of the injuries that she acquired and helped her get her personal things at her employer’s house. They also took Gambol to Kwong Wah Hospital in Yaumatei to undergo medical assessment.
The Pinay domestic helper had filed complaints before the Labour Tribunal who had set a hearing on the 11th day of August for Gambol’s case.
Gambol is claiming for her whole month’s salary from the employer for being incapable of working and a substantial amount representing damages due to the acquired physical injuries which also became the ground for terminating her contract with the abusive employer.
In total, the OFW is claiming $106,630 as payment for damages that she experienced in the hands of her employers.
As of this writing, the verdict of the case was not yet determined because investigations are still going on and the hearing is set on August 11.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) had already blacklisted the said employers to prevent occurrence of the same case. The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) had extended Gambol’s visa and financially supports her while the case in still ongoing.
For whatever the outcome of the case may be, may this Filipina domestic helper receive the justice that she truly deserves.