Despite her landmark legal victory in the domestic helper residency case, the family of Filipino Evangeline Banao Vallejos said they had no plan to migrate to Hong Kong.
In 1986, Vallejos, then a washerwoman, left her five children behind when she and husband Oria decided that he would take care of the children while she went abroad to earn a living. She has since put all five children through university, and all are employed and have their own families, the Philippine newspaper, Inquirer Global Nation, reported.
'Unbelievable,' Vallejos told the paper on Saturday. 'But I am very happy I won. I have long waited for this.' Shortly after the landmark case, Oria received a call from his wife. 'It was a very brief call. She just said, 'The case won,' then the phone went dead. Then I saw the news on TV the next day,' he said.
A tricycle driver, Oria said his wife was 'a fighter who will not stop fighting for what she thinks is right'.
'She's brave [and] aggressive,' he said. 'That's why I was not afraid when she decided to pursue the case for permanent residency.'
But he said neither he nor their five children planned to come to Hong Kong even if the ruling, which the government is appealing, opened the way to permanent residency for foreign domestic helpers.
Vallejos, who has kept a low profile in Hong Kong since the ruling, has said only, 'Thank God', as relayed by her solicitor Mark Daly. The paper said the 59-year-old helper was now on holiday on the mainland with her employers. The wife of the couple's son, Ryan, told the paper that Vallejos' employers were kind and supportive, and it was they who encouraged her to pursue the case. She said that their home was always open to Vallejos' compatriots and to her guests from the Philippines.
One of Vallejos' employers flew to the Philippines in July to act as sponsor at the wedding of her youngest son, Jaime, 27, who has a degree in business management.
Of her other children, Reggie, 36, has a degree in electronics and communication engineering; Renante, 34, in architecture; Ryan, 32, in accountancy; and Gilbert, 29, in nursing. 'Imagine, she is only a maid and a high school graduate, but she managed to fight for her permanent residency in Hong Kong,' Ryan said.
Oria said their life 'was so hard' before his wife went to Hong Kong.
'We experienced being oppressed because we had no money,' he said.