By Loryjean Yungco and Karen Cheung
An online petition has been launched following the arrest of 56-year-old Filipino domestic worker Gloria Ortinez, who was found by the police to be in possession of a bullet at the Manila International Airport. The petition called for a congressional investigation into a spate of similar “bullet planting” incidents, which have targeted travellers and domestic workers.
Airport personnel stand accused of discretely planting bullets into the bags of passengers. When the bullets are “discovered”, the passengers are arrested and then allegedly requested to hand over money in exchange for their freedom.
The Hong Kong Employers of Overseas Domestic Helpers’ Association called upon Manila to crack down on the practice, also known as “tanim bala.”
On Sunday, the Filipino migrant workers community held a forum to express their disapproval of the government in Manila. The workers complained that they have to pay high fees to the government, such as Overseas Employment Certificate fees, terminal fees, passport fees and taxes for parcels domestic workers receive.
Dolores Balladares Pelaez, Chairwoman of United Filipinos in Hong Kong told HKFP: “This is not the only issue migrant workers are facing; corruption within the airport [management] is rampant, under the leadership of the airport’s General Manager Jose Honrado.”
“With elections coming up next year, we are hoping that our people will choose a candidate that is clean, someone who will protect its people’s interests and support migrant workers and their families,” Pelaez added.