RP Consulate in Hong Kong finds 'Luisa'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 31 2009 07:34 PM | Updated as of Apr 01 2009 03:35 AM

The Philippine Consulate has located the Filipina domestic helper who became the center of the column article of Hong Kong writer Chip Tsao which has been deemed racist by many Filipinos.

The Philippines’ labor attaché also learned that Tsao does not have a Filipino domestic worker under his direct employ.

It can be recalled that the Tsao mentioned a Pinay domestic worker named “Luisa” in his column titled “The War at Home” where he said he lectured her on the issue of the disputed Spratly Islands.

In his column, Tsao wrote: “Manila has just claimed sovereignty over the scattered rocks in the South China Sea called the Spratly Islands, complete with a blatant threat from its congress to send gunboats to the South China Sea to defend the islands from China if necessary. This is beyond reproach. The reason: there are more than 130,000 Filipina maids working as $3,580-a-month cheap labor in Hong Kong. As a nation of servants, you don’t flex your muscles at your master, from whom you earn most of your bread and butter.”

“As a patriotic Chinese man, the news has made my blood boil. I summoned Luisa, my domestic assistant who holds a degree in international politics from the University of Manila, hung a map on the wall, and gave her a harsh lecture. I sternly warned her that if she wants her wages increased next year, she had better tell every one of her compatriots in Statue Square on Sunday that the entirety of the Spratly Islands belongs to China,” Tsao wrote.

“No knowledge of column”
According to Labor Attaché Romulo Carlos Salud, Tsao has two Indonesians domestic workers. Salud explained that the Luisa referred to by Tsao is actually employed by the Hong Kong writer’s father.

“Si Luisi is the helper ng father ni Chip Tsao,” said Salud.

The Consulate found out that Luisa has been under the employ of Tsao’s father for 14 years now.

Luisa allegedly has no plans of leaving her employer and neither has any knowledge about the column which appeared online in the HK Magazine.

“She doesn’t know anything. She doesn’t know why her name was mentioned. She doesn’t want to be interviewed,” Salud said.

Despite this, Salud said the consulate is determined to meet with Luisa and have her read the article.

Meanwhile, Tsao is set to be placed under the Consulate’s "watch list" and will be strictly monitored in case he decides to hire a Filipino maid because of his abusive tendencies.

Tsao was recently banned from entering the country by the Bureau of Immigration because of his column deemed as racist by many Filipinos.

Immigration Commissioner Marcelino Libanan issued on Monday night the order placing Tsao in the immigration blacklist as an undesirable alien.

“This is our manifestation of disgust against the racial slur and insult committed by Mr. Tsao against us as a people,” Libanan said in a statement after announcing the issuance of the blacklist order against the Hong Kong journalist.

Libanan also chided Tsao for his “arrogance and disrespect to the country and the Filipino people.”

Protest
In a related development, the group called United Filipinos in Hong Kong is preparing to launch a protest action on Sunday.

"We will protest against racial and class discrimination. We will rally for our rights as migrants and dignity as people," said the group in a press statement issued Tuesday.

Dolores Balladares said the group, including Migrante International, decided to hold the protest action on April 5 after a meeting with the Filipino community last Monday.

"We are all united in our position that the article was racist, discriminatory and demeaning to Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong. It was insulting to us as Filipinos and as domestic workers who are already confronting serious discriminatory and anti-migrant policies and practices in Hong Kong," Balladares said.

Balladares said the rally will also call for a public apology from Tsao and also his resignation from his post.

"Mr. Tsao has exposed his contempt for Filipino domestic workers and there is no way that we can let it pass. To have someone peddle racist and discriminatory lines in a widely-circulated media is to increase the potential that the abuses and oppression of domestic workers in Hong Kong will worsen," she said.

Tsao’s publisher and editors on Monday issued an apology for their writer’s column. In their letter, the Asia City Publishing Group in Hong Kong apologized “unreservedly for any offense that may have been caused by Chip Tsao's column dated March 27".

HK Magazine explained that they have long been championing the rights of Filipinos working in Hong Kong.

"We note that Filipinos have often been unfairly treated in Hong Kong, and that they make an important contribution to this community," said HK Magazine.

HK Magazine added that Tsao's column entitled "The War At Home" was satirical.

Unifil-Migrante-HK said it’s is now conducting information dissemination to their members and networks on the article and calling for them to take part in the Sunday protest action.

"We are now texting and speaking to our members on this issue and we plan to maximize other forms, including the radio, to encourage them to join," said Balladares.

The group also called on the government to take actions against racism and discrimination experienced by Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong.

"We reiterate our call for Mr. Tsao and the HK Magazine publishers to issue a sincere public apology to us domestic workers. We deserve no less than this," she said. Report from Timi Nubla, TV Patrol World