HK politician apologizes to OFWs for 'misinterpreted' remark
MANILA, Philippines – After initially refusing to apologize for a statement that many considered racist and sexist against Filipino domestic helpers, Hong Kong lawmaker Regina Ip reached out “to all those who felt offended” by her Facebook post that had since been taken down.
“Unfortunately, the way my article was misinterpreted in some quarters has led many to believe that I was sexist or racist and was pointing a finger at the Filipino maids,” Ip said in a statement issued by her office on Friday, April 24.
She added, “I strenuously deny such allegations.” (READ: FULL TEXT: Regina Ip on HK Filipino domestic helpers)
Ip said she was “misinterpreted” and apologized “to all those who felt offended” by her article. But stopped short of apologizing for the content of her article.
The article published in Chinese newspaper Ming Pao on April 17 said, "I have received complaints from expatriate women...that Filipina domestic helpers seduce their husbands.”
"I could only tell them that under the current laws it is quite difficult to regulate," she said.
Ip said she had learned of "families wrecked because of relationships between Filipina maids and male employers."
"Rather than reporting improper behavior by local employers, should we pay more attention to Filipina maids becoming sexual resources for foreign men in Hong Kong?" she said.
These comments were seen as racist and sexist by many, especially members of the Filipino community in Hong Kong. Prior to Ip's apology, groups had threatened to sue her.
“I have always been friendly to the Filipinos working in Hong Kong in diverse areas,” Ip said in her statement. “I respect their hard work and their contributions to the Hong Kong community. I have treated my own domestic helper like family. The misunderstanding caused is deeply regretted,” she added.
But despite the apology, protests planned for Sunday, April 26, will push through.
Community activist and journalist Daisy Mandap said: “While we welcome Mrs Ip's apology and commend her for publicly recognizing the great contribution of our migrant workers to Hong Kong society, the organizers of this campaign believe that the protest march planned for this Sunday should go ahead, if only to impress upon the Hong Kong government, its officials and to the public in general, that we will not tolerate any form of racism and discrimination.”
The coalition of OFW groups in Hong Kong will also continue their plan to file a case with the Equal Opportunities Commission, Mandap said, “so that there will be a final arbiter on what Ip really implied, especially as she is still insisting that she was just misunderstood.” (READ: OFW groups to HK politician: Apologize or we'll sue)
The protest is scheduled for Sunday April 26, at 10 am, at the Chater Garden. The OFW groups will meet Ip at her office the following day on April 27. – Rappler.com