5,000 HK Employers Under POLO HK's 'Watch List'

The Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Hong Kong has revealed that it keeps a database of almost 5,000 employers under its ‘watch list’ after Filipino domestic helpers have filed complaints against them.

As of July 27, there are 4,990 employers in the list. The number swelled by 100 after labor attaché Jalilo Dela Torre announced that he was going after “terminators” or employers who are involved in multiple domestic helper terminations.

Dela Torre urged domestic workers who are under abusive employers to come forward and sign an affidavit reporting them to POLO to be included in the watch list.

“Kahit saang source yan—Internet or Facebook—paggusto po ipa-blacklist, pumunta ka rito at sign an affidavit kasi hindi pwede hearsay lang,” Dela Torre said.

An employer who is in the watch list would have to explain his or her behavior if he or she wishes to hire a Filipino domestic worker.

POLO began compiling the list in the mid-2000s and significantly grew after the news about Cantopop singer Jacky Cheung accused in 2006 his Filipino domestic worker, Preslyn Catacutan, of stealing a letter and three photos from him. He was included in the list after it was discovered that he had 21 domestic helpers during a three-year period.

Other forms of abuse which warrant employers to be included in the list included sexual molestation, maltreatment, not providing food to their FDHs, and other abuses.

Dela Torre earlier said that those who terminate and change FDHs several times a year should not be allowed to hire another Filipino domestic worker.

“Pag within a period of one year, for example, ganyan uma-appear ng uma-appear yung pangalan ng employer na yan, iwatch list na rin namin,” Dela Torre said as he urged Filipino domestic workers who were denied food allowance as mandated by law to report incidents to the POLO.

“Before they go to (the Labour Department), pwede dito muna para matawagan yung agency. Yung agency, tatawagan employer,” he added, noting that helpers may be terminated at once if they immediately proceed with their case to Labour Department.