Filipino Domestic Worker Dies 2 Weeks After Colon Cancer Diagnosis

A Filipino domestic worker in Hong Kong died Nov. 25, just two weeks after it was discovered that she had an end-stage cancer, an official from the Philippine Consulate General confirmed.

The unnamed helper, 32, who hails from Benguet, works for an employer in Tseung Kwan O. She died of terminal colon cancer at Tseung Kwan O Hospital, said Consul Paul Saret, head of the PCG-Assistance to Nationals Section.

“She was confined at the hospital three weeks ago because she had fallen ill. Then a week later or two weeks ago, it was discovered after a battery of tests that she had Stage 4 colon cancer,” Saret said in an interview.

“The cancer had metastasized to her lungs,” he added, saying that the cancer apparently did not appear in the worker’s medical tests before she came to Hong Kong a year ago.

Saret said the consulate was helping the worker’s family—she has four children back home—get their benefits from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

The Filipino woman’s employer was also cooperating with the consulate as it prepares to repatriate her remains back to the Philippines, the ATN head said.

“The employer said she was strong a month ago but all of a sudden she fell ill,” Saret said.

A friend of the worker had posted on Facebook that the worker complained that her employer had dismissed her complaints that she felt sick.
She added that the worker had complained of coughing up what appeared to be dried blood, a report from Hong Kong News said.

“They can come here and execute a sworn affidavit. As of now, the employer is cooperating with us,” Saret said.

Edwina Antonio-Santoyo, executive director of Bethune House Migrant Women’s Refuge, also met with consulate officials to ensure they get proper assistance.

Saret urged overseas Filipino workers, particularly domestic workers, to take care of their health and avail of the consulate’s free medical check-ups.

“If they notice anything out of the ordinary, they can also have themselves tested at the hospital,” Saret said.

“They can inform their employer, who have the obligation to look after their health,” he said.

“If the employers refuse, that is a ground to file a complaint with OWWA or the Labour Department,” he added.