An unidentified Filipina who fell from the Mong Kok apartment in Hong Kong was declared dead on arrival by a hospital after she was rushed by medics.
The event took place on Wednesday, May 17, at around 10 pm and was declared dead at the Kwong Wah Hospital.
Her Palestinian husband was devastated with the news. Police investigation has not found any evidence of foul play or other suspicious circumstances.
at least 11 people, majority of which are domestic helpers, have fallen to their deaths while cleaning windows or doing renovation work on high-rise buildings according to a Chinese publisher.
This has prompted some countries to call for a ban on window cleaning among their domestic helpers. Months of negotiation eventually led to the passing of a safety clause which prohibits cleaning windows with no safety grills.
However, employment contracts signed on or before December 31, 2016 were not affected by the clause.
“Stop Verifying FDH Contracts to Hong Kong” – Jalilo dela Torre on Domestic Workers Being Forced to Clean Windows From Outside
- Labor Attaché Jalilo dela Torre has requested to stop processing contracts of Filipino domestic workers going to Hong Kong
- This is until domestic workers in Hong Kong are guaranteed safe from cleaning windows from the outside
- This comes after the death of Rinalyn Dulluog who fell while she was cleaning the windows on a building’s 49th floor
Labor Attaché Jalilo dela Torre has requested that Manila stop processing contracts of Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong if they are obligated to clean building windows – from the outside.
Dela Torre said that he sent a memo last month to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to ask for “clearance” on his intention to stop verification of Foreign Domestic Helper (FDH) contracts for the meantime.
He’s hoping to halt the dangers posed by these working conditions by revising FDH contracts to have a categorical ‘exception’ – stating that the worker would not be allowed to clean windows from the outside.
During an interview Dela Torre had this to say: “I’ve suggested to the Secretary—nagmemo ako—na hindi na namin iveverify ang contracts pag walang exception to the cleaning duties.”
“Ino-oppose ng mga (domestic worker) agencies yan. So, I’ve asked the Secretary for clearance na hindi na namin iveverify kung walang exception,” he said.
“We will see kung anong (reply). Kung papayag sila, ita-take effect na namin yan,” he added.
Labor Secretary Bello is expected to visit Hong Kong in the second week of this month.
On August 9, domestic worker Rinalyn Dulluog fell to her death while she was cleaning the windows of her employer’s flat on the 49th floor of the building in Tsuen Kwan O.
Dela Torre revealed he sent the memo to Bello after the horrific incident.
He said the “exception” on cleaning windows could be specified under the heading of “Others” in the list of domestic duties for FDHs in their standard employment contract.
“Dun kasi sa contract, meron dun ‘Others.’ Puwede mag-agree yung employer at worker kung ano pa ang duties at kung ano ang hindi dapat. So, baka yun ang opening na gagawin namin,” he said.
Dela Torre also revealed that he met with different associations of employment agencies in Hong Kong.
He was hoping to get consultation on the dangerous conditions of these domestic workers. Instead they suggested that FDHs get training on occupational safety.
“I met the associations at ang suggestions nila is yung training on occupational safety o orientation on occupational safety pero I have grave doubts about the effectiveness of that,” he said.
“Parang it raises expectations pa nga na it’s alright to clean outside the windows as long as you’re trained. Hindi ako pabor doon,” he added.
Dela Torre said he has plans of bringing up this issue with the Hong Kong Labour Department during the regular technical working group (TWG) meetings.