In his London flat, Rogelio Braga was busy typing on his laptop, in between answering emails, queries, and interviews from his caseworker. Rogelio was writing a play entitled Miss Philippines. No, it is not about statuesque beauties whose feet barely touched the earth. It is about real women, lesbian, and transgender women, barely surviving the life in the slums under Duterte’s war on drugs.
It is the same play he submitted to the Yellow Earth Theater earlier in 2020 and has been awarded £2000 seed commissions to develop new plays as part of the Professional Writers Programme 2020-22.
Allaine (not her real name) came to the UK, on a domestic worker visa in 2017. She looked after a 2 year old twin and 2 other children for a couple from Qatar. They had been badly abusing her both when they were in Quatar, and in the UK. They continued to beat her and verbally abuse her, and often only gave her left overs to eat. They also kept her passport from her.
One day she managed to escape her employers with the help of a neighbour, and she was referred to the National Referral Mechanism -NRM for trafficked people. Allaine was traumatised by the persistent physical and verbal abuse of her employers.
The NRM recognised her as a trafficked person but she still has no decision from the Home Office about her status.
Carla and her husband Cedic, who have been in the UK since 2013, have a 6 months old child. They live in a room in a 7 bedroom house with at least 13 other undocumented workers, one of the rooms is occupied by another family with two children and other residents are health care workers in the NHS.
They work as domestic workers in two different private households.
Cedic looks after an elderly man. Because of the lockdown, they were told by their employers not to report to work anymore and they will not receive any pay. They are very worried because of living with their baby in their cramped accommodation and some of their housemates are exposed to the virus in the hospital.
They are worried about having money for their food and rent. They are also anxious about their families back home in the Philippines, as they are no longer able to send financial support to them.
Carla and Cedic each have children in the Philippines from earlier marriages. They are also both supporting their elderly parents. They fear that if the lockdown lasts a long time they are going to go hungry and their families in the Philippines will also go hungry.
Irene (not her real name) came to the UK in 2013, brought here as his maid by her rich Saudi employer. Her pay was only £200 per month working long hours every day 7 days a week. She looked after 5 children as well as doing all the house- work. She escaped from her employer one day and has stayed in the UK without documentation.
She got a job as a carer for a couple who were both severely ill – the man had a brain tumour and the woman had breast cancer. Irene looked after them for many years until the main died from the tumour.