Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo says a proposed $500-a-month tax on foreign maids would be discriminatory and breach equal opportunities clauses in Hong Kong law. She levels the charge in a letter to Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa which is being delivered by her envoy today. Mrs Arroyo's letter states: 'We are opposing the levy for the following reasons: that it is discriminatory, it runs counter to the equal opportunities clause in your laws, that it is against the ILO (International Labour Organisation) convention. 'The burden of an economy that is not growing should not be brought to bear on the lowest paid workers who work the longest hours.' Philippine Secretary of Labour and Employment Patricia Sto Tomas and the special adviser to the Indonesian Minister of Manpower and Transmigration, Edison Situmorang, arrived from Jakarta yesterday each carrying messages for Mr Tung appealing against the tax. Mrs Sto Tomas will hand over the letter from Mrs Arroyo in a meeting with Secretary for Economic Development and Labour Stephen Ip Shu-kwan today. Mr Situmorang has a letter for Mr Tung from Indonesian Labour Minister Jacob Nua Wea and is awaiting confirmation of an audience with Mr Ip. Mrs Sto Tomas told the South China Morning Post last night: 'I am here to hand deliver the letter from Mrs Arroyo and get a sense from them as to what has triggered this whole exercise again.' Almost a year ago to the day, Mrs Sto Tomas travelled to Hong Kong when a $500 cut of the foreign domestic helpers' minimum wage of $3,670 a month was floated. The proposed wage cut, which would have been the second in three years, did not occur, despite pressure from employers. Mrs Sto Tomas also revealed that she delivered a letter from the Philippine president to Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri about the proposed levy during an overnight visit to the Indonesian capital. Mrs Sto Tomas said she had received a call from the Thai Labour Minister Suwat Liptapanlop to express his support for Philippine efforts opposing the $500 levy. The Indonesian adviser, Mr Situmorang, told the Post that the letter from their labour minister expresses 'our concern for what is best for Indonesia, as well as the Hong Kong government, in relation to this problem'. A spokeswoman for the Thai consulate said: 'We believe that the levy will have a tremendous and adverse impact on the livelihood of Thai domestic helpers.' About 152,000 Filipinos, 78,000 Indonesians and 7,000 Thais work as maids in Hong Kong.