Inquirer News Service
THE PHILIPPINE DAILY ENQUIRER
FOR 10 years now, Erlinda Saludes has been carrying a heavy load, but she doesn't mind.
A domestic helper in Singapore, Saludes, 39, is the nanny of Alistair Ong, an 11-year-old quadriplegic cerebral palsy patient whom she carries to his school bus every day.
On Feb. 27, the Association of Employment Agencies Singapore (AEAS) took note of her complete devotion to her ward by naming her the city-state's Model Maid of the Year during its first anniversary celebration.
Hawazi Daipi, the parliamentary secretary of Singapore's Ministries of Education and Manpower, gave the award to Saludes who won over 85 other Sri Lankans, Thais and fellow Filipinos vying for the honor.
At the same time, a Singaporean couple was honored as employers of the year for taking care of their domestic helper, Luzviminda Espinosa, by paying for her hospital bills when she was ill several times in the past.
In singling out Saludes, the AEAS said that she also had to walk 25 minutes to Ong's school to bring food for the boy during recess and take him to the toilet.
Mother of 2 children
A Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) report from Philippine Labor Attache to Singapore Merriam Cuasay said Saludes is a mother with two children whom she left behind in the Philippines when they were aged four and one for a job in Singapore.
"Working for Madam Angie Leow and her family centered mainly on Alistair whom she has to carry everywhere as he has very weak arms and legs," Cuasay said.
"Her employers appreciated her concern for Alistair, especially when he was undergoing intensive physiotheraphy in China," she added.
At the same occasion, Pauline Ng and Benno Bok were recognized as the AEAS model employers of the year for their generosity and kindness toward Espinosa, 36. Both took time off from their jobs to take care of the household work and of Espinosa whenever she was sick. Espinosa was hospitalized for an appendectomy in 1996, operated on for a cyst in 2000 and treated for a kidney infection in 2002.
The couple also shouldered all of Espinosa's hospital bills, the DoLE said.
"It takes two hands to clap. We trust her," the couple said when asked why they paid for Espinosa's treatments.
Honor to profession
Labor Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas praised Saludes for the honor she brought to her profession of domestic care and to the country. She also commended employers Ng and Bok for their concern for their Filipino maid. "They are rare employers," Sto. Tomas said.
Singapore has 30,000 to 35,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), many of them domestic helpers. Last year, OFWs in Singapore remitted more than 94 million pesos to the Philippines.