It may be 2018, but unfortunately, that doesn’t mean we’ve moved past from archaic and discriminatory practices.
On Wednesday, visual artist Mike Miguel tweeted a sign he saw inside a high-end condominium in Manila that blatantly prohibits domestic workers from using lifts apart from the designated “service elevators.”
— Mike (@mikewillfly) May 9, 2018
The house rule mandated by the management of the condo 8 Wack Wack specified that helpers, drivers, nannies who aren’t with children, and delivery personnel are not allowed to use elevators that are meant for the residents and that those who violate the rule will be fined.
As if the sign isn’t insulting enough, it ends with a note that says: “This Elevator is monitored by a CCTV Camera.”
OK, chill out Big Brother.
The tweet has since caught the attention of netizens, who slammed the building’s management for being discriminatory.
“Whoever made this is amazing. What do you think, the same people who you TRUST to take care of your home, your FOOD, your children, and you can’t even allow them to breathe the same air as you in that cramped elevator? Wow, shameful,” @erikaaaachu said.
Napakagaling naman nang gumawa nito. Ano kaya tingin niyo, the same people who you TRUST to take care of your home, your FOOD, your children, and you can't even allow them to breathe the same air as you in that cramped elevator? Wow, nakakahiya.
— エリカ💄 (@erikaaaachu) May 10, 2018
“Why don’t you just include the salary range of those who can use that elevator, some might slip in,” @imKPB said with an eye roll emoji.
lagay nyo na lang yung salary range ng bawal gumamit ng elevator na yan, baka me makalusot pa eh! 🙄
— .. (@imKPB) May 10, 2018
“Why, are they not people because of their jobs? I get why there’s a ‘service elevator’ but the way they put it was offensive and makes it seem like they don’t have rights, I dunno maybe it’s just me,” @FetusSpades said.
Bakit hindi na ba sila tao dahil sa mga trabaho nila? I get na may “service elevator” but the way they put it kasi is offensive and makes it seem like wala silang karapatan, I dunno maybe it’s just me.
— playgirl camsy (yung nag-carwash) (@FetusSpades) May 10, 2018
Others just resorted to memes to express how they feel.
— lhea (@alskalse) May 10, 2018
— paoey (@falloutphia) May 10, 2018
Coconuts Manila called 8 Wack Wack’s management but staff declined to comment.
While not all residential buildings in the Philippines are as forward about it, 8 Wack Wack is far from the only condo that requires domestic and service workers to use their own elevator.
There was a similar issue in 2014 when management of the Icon Residences at the affluent Bonifacio Global City neighborhood posted a photo of a memorandum that urged residents to remind their household employees to “strictly use the service elevator only.”
This form of segregation is often justified as a safety measure and done to ensure the area’s security, but (rightly) comes off as discriminatory.
Discrimination against domestic workers is common all over the region where many families still have stay-in help.
In April, a private club in Hong Kong was criticized for a similar sign that prohibited domestic helpers from its pool area.