Filipino community remembers victims of Lucky Plaza accident

Filipino community remembers victims of Lucky Plaza accident

Mourners who visit the site have been lighting candles and saying prayers for the victims
Mourners who visit the site have been lighting candles and saying prayers for the victims. (Photo: Rachel Phua)

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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READ:  CCTV footage emerges of moments before fatal crash

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?”  

Mercedes Aurelio and Mary Jean Llona paying their respects to the victims of Sunday’s tragedy
Mercedes Aurelio (left, in white) and Mary Jean Llona (right, in blue) paying their respects to the victims of the tragedy on Sunday Dec 29, 2019. (Photo: Rachel Phua)

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.  

READ: Two women injured in Lucky Plaza accident discharged from hospital

READ: Two sisters among six Filipino victims in Lucky Plaza car crash: Philippine Embassy official

Image from iOS (16)
Foreign domestic workers pay their respects near Lucky Plaza on Dec 31, 2019, where an accident involving six Filipino workers has occurred. (Photo: Rachel Phua)

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. 

READ: Sisters in Lucky Plaza accident were 'extremely generous' to friends, family, says brother

READ: Friends and family pay respects to mother-of-two who died in Lucky Plaza car crash

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. 

Lucky Plaza accident 4
A photo circulating on social media of paramedics attending to victims after an accident at Lucky Plaza on Dec 29, 2019.

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.  

Lucky Plaza car crash graphic

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. 

Source: CNA/mn

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