Various Filipino migrant organizations in Hong Kong threatened ex-security chief and now lawmaker Regina Ip that they will sue or protest in the streets if she continued in refusing to apologize for referring to a large number of Filipino domestic helpers as ‘marriage wreckers.’
In Ip’s op-ed article published last Saturday in Ming Pao, a Chinese-language newspaper in the region, she mentioned about ‘families wrecked because of relationships between Filipino maids and male employers.’
“I have received complaints from expatriate women… that Filipino domestic helpers seduce their husband,” she wrote. “I could only tell them that under the current law, it is quite difficult to regulate.”
Ip also mentioned about testimonies of expatriate wives attesting about their helpers having affairs with their husbands. She questioned why the international media seemed to report more about abuses committed by employers and none about these illicit relationships.
“Rather than reporting improper behavior by local employers, should we pay more attention to Filipino maids becoming sexual resources for foreign men in Hong Kong?,” she asked.
Ip, with the aforementioned remarks, stood firm and refused to apologize.
“Why should I apologize? I have really received such complaints about the maids and I am only stating facts,” she said in an interview, adding that people were just making ‘a big fuss out of a small issue.’
With Ip’s unrepentant words, United Filipinos (Unifil), the biggest organization of Filipino migrants in Hong Kong, became angry and aghast. The group now started to consider filing a racial discrimination case against Ip.
“First, it is racist since we Filipinos were singled out. Second, it is anti-women because it labels us, Filipino women as ‘malalandi (flirts)” who seduce male employers and wreck families,” Unifil chairperson Dolores Balladares-Perez said.
Bethune House Migrant Women’s Refuge, though has not yet expressed actions on sues nor protests, still felt that Ip’s words were disgraceful for a politician, and a woman even more.
“This is the worst statement she has made against migrant workers… She should be banned from holding public office. She should not be in government if she thinks that way. She should never be elected,” Bethune House Migrant Women’s Refuge executive director Edwina Antonio said, adding that Ip had always been anti-migrant.
Hong Kong legislator Claudia Mo, on the other hand, had already filed a similar case, accusing Ip of ‘blatant racism.’