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Monday, May 28, 2012

Sad story: Maid gets pay cut due to Panatag standoff

This story comes from a Chinese language paper, translated almost literally, and maybe something we have to ponder on as we talk about the standoff at the West Philippine Sea:

On April 10, Philippine Navy tried to arrest Chinese Fishermen at Huangyan Island(Panatag Shoal) and were stopped by Chinese maritime surveillance ships, and a standoff occurred and is still ongoing. On May 24th the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said that China had been trying to resolve the situation with diplomatic means, but the Philippine side was still taking provocative actions in the sea.

The standoff casts a shadow over the friendship of the two people, and started doing damage to the trade between the countries. At the beginning, Philippine banana and pineapple were banned from importing into China due to 'pest problem', and Chinese travel agencies cancelled Philippine tours, resulting in significant loss of the Philippine farmers and tourism industries. Recently, it is said the Filipino maids working in mainland China started feeling the heat of dispute, although indirectly.

There are reports that some Filipino maids lost their job because they are not willing to accept the pay cut demanded by their employers, and some maids are afraid of going out because they feel their undocumented status would make them more vulnerable in current political situation between the two countries. It's like all of the sudden the peace of the life of the some Filipino maids in China was washed away by the water from South China Sea.

Huangyan Island standoff cost Jenny's Job

'I think I will have to lower your salary.' Filipino maid Jenny heard his employer telling her this while she was taking care of the kids of her employer, on May 16. Her employer wanted to lower her salary from 6000 yuan to 4000 yuan.

Her employer explained, 'China and Philippines are having a bad relationship right now'. What kind of reason is that? Jenny was wondering why her employer had to use this type of excuse. When Jenny first came to this well-to-do Shanghai Putong family 15 months ago, the employer kept praising her for job well done. The twin baby girls were 2 years old, and time has passed, they are almost 4 now.

'The police are now looking for undocumented Filipinos everywhere, and they are going to send them home', the employer further explained, citing he wanted Jenny to take lower salary to compensate his increasing risks of employing an undocumented Filipino worker. But Jenny didn't buy that. Chinese authorities look for the undocumented foreigners all the time anyway, and they are not targeting only Filipinos this time. Failing to reach agreement, the employer and Jenny parted away.

For Jenny, the dispute in South China Sea is too far away from her. She was only focusing on taking care of the two baby girls of her employer. Jenny feels helpless. 'I worked very hard. Maybe they (the employer) felt some kind of pressure'. She said.

Nobody seems really care about the difficult situation the two countries' dispute has put Jenny and her fellow Filipinos in.

Why come to China? The pay is very good

Born in 1981, Jenny is 31 years old. She came to Shanghai the first time in spring, 2010. She can clearly list the reasons why she likes Shanghai. 'I like the wide streets and shiny skyscrapers, vigorous pedestrian street, and malls with the latest fashions……'.

However for Jenny, the most important thing is that she can earn by being a maid in Shanghai. Here she earned her highest salary since she started working as a domestic helper – 6000 yuan (Around P41,500). This amount is higher than many Filipino maids can earn elsewhere in the world. In Hong Kong, a Filipino maid normally gets paid around 3500-4000 yuan.

'I sent 5500 yuan back to the Philippines every month, and this is the expenses for my parents and my two daughters.' This amount is almost what an average Filipino can earn in a year in a village. Since Jenny started working in China, her family in the Philippines moved from village to town. Her two daughters went to the best kindergarten in town, and she even helped her brother buy a motorcycle that cost 12000 yuan. She let her family live a decent life in their province.

Chinese police start searching undocumented foreigners, and Filipino maids are feared to go out

For Jenny, the only option is to continue to work in Shanghai. Otherwise she would not be able to keep sending money to her family. The first month after she lost her job, she borrowed money from friends in Shanghai and sent money back to her family in the Philippines.

During the period of time when Jenny was unemployed, she stayed in her friend's rental apartment in the outskirt of Shanghai. That's a small room of 500 yuan a month. Even in the outskirt area, 500 yuan can only land a room without air conditioner and appliances. Before she finds a new employer, she, her friend, and her friend's boyfriend have to squeeze altogether inside this small room.

May 20, afraid of getting caught by police in the rented room, Jenny and her girl friend went to the bar. Later a man took her friend away for 'business', and Jenny had to stay in a 27/7 McDonald for the entire night. Jenny said, because of illegal status, many Filipino girls in Shanghai find being a prostitute makes much easier and quicker cash, than being a house maid.

'I love Shanghai. I like going to the mall shopping for shoes and clothes.' Jenny appeared to be a little uneasy while making a phone call with her cell phone. Her Nokia cell phone has lost the key board but she managed to dial. Although Jenny doesn't like the crowded buses and metro in the city, or the constant fear of being illegal here, she is not planning to give up.

At this moment, the Philippine government seems to become less vocal on the dispute. Dispute will eventually cool off. Reports say Philippine bananas have come back to China, and Jenny feels bad time is about to be over. She wastes no time to hide herself, and in order to find work as soon as possible, she starts going around again in the city.

'If possible, I will stay here for ten more years.' Jenny says. By then her two daughters would have graduated from college and she would go back home.

Daughter graduated from college to come home

In addition to Jane, Filipino Wiener (transliteration) in China's way of working is also affected because there is no legal identity, she had an entire week were afraid to leave.

On May 15, the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau announced that focus on cleaning up illegal immigration, illegal residence, illegal work "three non-" aliens. Since the relationship between the Philippines and China became tense, who secretly selling Filipino broker intermediaries such as Guangzhou, Shenzhen, gradually stopped working. Has worked for Filipino domestic helpers have to low-key and low profile.

Wiener in a mountain East of Beijing in the water-rich community. This community is double-wide homes, homes in front, with a garden behind the House, there is artificial Creek separate the private garden and community public gardens, every hour, wearing similar United Kingdom Royal guards uniform security inspections, in invisible places, camera 24 hour guard the roads.

Originally, Wiener in here very well. She worked hard, outside the House back room clean very clean, take care of grape vines and London plane trees in the yard in order. However, since the beginning of the week, Wiener is gone is no longer present in the community, in General, went out to buy food shopping is the hostess, and hold two sled dogs in liuwan community is the man of the House.

Evening touzhe fence look from her backyard, you can see a dark complexion and is of master 忙活a, dressed in a white skirt girl in the kitchen. Asked who she is? Social security will tell you: "she is the man's relatives, a distant relative. "However, carefully listening to understand, the" distant relatives in the country "is not how to speak Chinese, and she's the best of which is:" wife "," Hello "," "," Goodbye ", which in combination with strong nasal. No legal identity, her difficult.

"Filipino" as an international brand is a household name, with "the world's most professional nanny" name. Creating the brand, most are young Filipino woman like Jenny.

The 70 's of the last century, Philippine economic underdevelopment, domestic employment difficulties. When Philippine President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos of promulgation of the labour code, encouraging feiguo people out of work, help trapped, Filipinos started the great migration. Since then, Filipino back a large amount of foreign exchange for the State, at one point accounted for 5% per cent of GDP in the Philippines. In May 1992, after lamosilarenajinuofuren as President, praised the "Filipino domestic helpers is a new national hero".

Work in the home, Jenny can only earn about 500 Yuan every month wages in Shanghai that her monthly salary of one-tenth.

"After you get community college degree at home, I think study abroad is the future. "Jenny away from the towns of the country, took six hours by bus to the capital Manila. She said she is afraid "when the parachute is pain in the Sun", choose to be Filipino.

In the Philippines, many families to have a proud daughter of a Filipino abroad. University of the Philippines is also focused on training in this area. Middle school girls ' schools in the Philippines, and nearly 3,000 colleges and universities are classified as compulsory home economics. Community College, will also be the employer, as well as the inclusion of first aid knowledge courses in psychology, the Filipino from the physical and psychological skills training and development training centre for the registration of more than more than 4,000.
"Filipino travel will help me with my query to weather, to bring enough appropriate clothing, taking into account the security on the plane, they also control items such as luggage lighter in pulled out. "Shanghai Bo NI Home Economics was established in 2002 by a foreign domestic agency, Zhu Wei, head for the Filipino brand of praise. (Comprehensive report in the China daily, the Beijing times)

  Filipino domestic helpers are important in the Philippines

  No legal status on mainland maids is the biggest problems many holders of less than 200

In fact, most of the Filipino maids working in China do not have legal status.

According to domestic law, employment of Filipino domestic helpers in the Mainland is an offence. Currently protecting domestic low labor market in China is not allowed outside the low-end labor to work in China. Pure like the Filipino labor input cannot be made "visa".

Filipino domestic helpers entering China "curve employment" in two main ways: first, to teachers or to introduce Filipino trainer, provides domestic services; the other way (most Filipino way), is to follow the employers to get a tourist visa, business visa or employed by the employer on behalf of the company, to apply for work visas.
"Visa is difficult to do, so visa fees will be $ 20,000 a year, coupled with renewed leading to changes in Filipino domestic helpers working on such issues, these costs add up to very expensive. "A special medium of introducing Filipino company in Shenzhen. Whether it tourist visa, business visa, most of it is half of a check, visa required employers to pay all of the costs.

After 2010, cities began to introduce Filipino, even in Changsha, Chengdu and other Midwestern cities are starting to have their footprints. According to conservative estimates, now entered the Mainland maids of more than 10,000 people, "but no more than 200 people have legitimate work visas".

(Note: according to the 1996 promulgated regulations on the employment of foreigners in China, individuals and families are not allowed to employ foreign workers. However, in the face of strong demand, many intermediaries are secretly Filipino domestic helpers through the subtle channels of foreign business people to live in China and China's wealthy family.)

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