SINGAPORE: Bouquets, candles and food items.
That was the scene at the site of a horrific car crash that killed two Filipino domestic workers and injured four others outside Lucky Plaza shopping centre.
People, mostly women from the Filipino community in Singapore, have been stopping by the area since they heard of the tragedy.
“Those helpers just wanted to pass their time here, sit down and have a picnic. They didn’t expect this to happen,” said Mary Jean llona, 45, who has worked as a domestic helper in Singapore for 19 years. “We are very sad about it. May they rest in peace."
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She and her friend, Mercedes Aurelio, stopped by to remember Abigail Leste, 41, and Arlyn Nucos, 50, who both died from the car crash on Sunday (Dec 29). They do not know the victims but wanted to pay their respects.
“If the women are mothers who are sole breadwinners, I feel so sorry. Who is going to support (their families)? That is the thing that makes me sad thinking about it,” said Ms Aurelio, 42, who has worked in Singapore as a domestic helper for nine years. “They sacrificed so much for their kids and then this happens”.
Another domestic worker from the Philippines, Hazel Bernardo, 47, was in tears as she lit a candle to remember the victims and said a quiet prayer.
“I have two kids. I’m a single mum. I know the feeling,” said Ms Bernardo, who has worked in Singapore for six years. “What if I’m the one who met the accident. What will happen to my kids?”
She said they were praying for the comfort of the family, relatives and friends and protection for the Filipino community in Singapore, who are “miles away” from family.
“May this never happen again.”
Ms Bernardo also does not know the victims, but said it is part of Filipino culture to care for others, “light a candle for them and pray for them” even if they don’t know them personally.
FUNDRAISING FOR THE VICTIMS
After the accident, organisations supporting foreign domestic workers launched fundraising campaigns for the victims.
The Centre for Domestic Employees has surpassed its S$100,000 goal with more than 900 donors contributing, according to their campaign page on giving.sg which opened on Monday.
All the proceeds will go directly towards the injured foreign domestic workers and beneficiaries of the deceased workers, CDE said on their Facebook page.
CDE’s chairman Yeo Guat Kwang said that the fund will be used to support the needs of the injured FDWs and bereaved families of the deceased in the coming months.
This is because insurance processes take time and the amount of payout is dependent on the outcome of the investigation, he said.
The CDE is prepared to supplement the financial assistance through their Domestic Employees Welfare Fund (DEWF) as well, the organisation said on Facebook.
The Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics is also helping to collect donations for the victim’s families. It has raised about S$1,000 so far, said case manager Jaya Anil Kumar.
The donations will help supplement the insurance payouts, she said, especially as many domestic workers are the main or sole breadwinners for their families.
In Singapore, employers are required to purchase personal accident insurance and medical insurance with coverage of at least S$60,000 and S$15,000 per year respectively for their domestic workers.
The personal accident insurance provides a compensation sum to the helper and her family if she is suddenly permanently disabled or dies due to an accident.
The medical insurance is to help employers, who are responsible for the domestic worker’s medical bills during their stay in Singapore.