PH, Hong Kong gov’ts to assist family of OFW who fell to death while cleaning window
MANILA, Philippines — The governments of the Philippines and Hong Kong have vowed to assist the bereaved family of a overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who reportedly fell to her death while cleaning the window of her employer’s apartment, Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople said on Friday.
After a phone call with Hong Kong Labor and Welfare Secretary Chris Sun, Ople said the Philippine government and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China have agreed to work together “to prevent similar tragic cases from happening in the future.”
Sun, according to Ople, was “deeply troubled and saddened” by the death of the Hong Kong-based Filipino worker, who was only identified as Lyn.
Ople said Lyn’s siblings are in Hong Kong to coordinate with the Philippine Consulate and the Migrant Workers’ Office on the repatriation of their sister’s remains.
They will also meet Lyn’s employer and the Hong Kong Employees’ Compensation Division, she added.
“We will extend full assistance and support to her bereaved family while working closely with Secretary Chris Sun and his department to ensure that the principle of ‘safety above all else’ is carried out as part of employers’ obligations,” Ople said in a statement.
A number of cases of house helpers falling to their deaths while cleaning windows hounded Hong Kong in 2016. This prompted its Labor Department to add new rules to the OFW’s Standard Employment Contract.
The updated guidelines, which took effect in 2017, state that when an employer needs the worker to clean the outside of any window, not on the ground level or adjacent to a balcony or common corridor, the window cleaning must be done under these conditions:
- The window being cleaned is fitted with a grille that is locked or secured in a manner that prevents it from being opened
- No part of the worker’s body goes beyond the window ledge except the arms
Ople said she and Sun agreed on the need to remind employers of foreign domestic workers of these rules.
According to the Hong Kong Immigration Authority, there are around 181,067 domestic workers out of the 211,514 Filipinos in the Special Administrative Region.