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Migrant Workers
10-27-2009 PM challenges POEA, DOLE to act swiftly vs recruiter of teachers PDF Print E-mail

Press Release
October 27, 2009

PM challenges POEA, DOLE to act swiftly vs recruiter of teachers

After the submission by more than 60 teachers of their statements detailing their miserable experiences with their recruiter, the party-list Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) is challenging the POEA and the DOLE to act swiftly on their case.

A representative of the migrant teachers who are based in the state of Louisiana who has been working closely with PM has brought home a portfolio containing the complaints.  The declarations were submitted to Labor Secretary Marianito Roque.  The same documents are part of the evidences in the cases filed by the American Federation of Teachers in behalf of the Filipino teachers against the recruiting agency.

The subjects of the teachers’ complaints are the US-based Universal Placement International (UPI) and its local partner PARS International Placement Agency.  Both companies are owned by Lourdes “Lulu” Navarro who is based in the US, and her brother Emilio “Mel” Villarba is the one who runs the local operations.

“POEA has knowledge of the exploitative practices of PARS and UPI long before.  Feedbacks from the victims were already coming out since last year; several individual cases were filed against PARS by teachers who paid but where never able to fly to the US earlier this year; further we have informed our embassy in the US about the hundreds of teachers that are being recruited in a manner that borders on human trafficking.  So we are appalled that no swift action was undertaken to look seriously into this issue,” asserted Renato Magtubo, PM Chairperson.

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10-04-2009 Labor group asks recruitment agency of Pinoy teachers to be delisted PDF Print E-mail

Press Release
October 4, 2009

Labor group asks recruitment agency of Pinoy teachers to be delisted

The party-list group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) called on the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) to delist the local placement agency of the Filipino migrant teachers in Louisiana that have filed complaints of illegal recruitment, illegal fees and various labor violations against a US-based manpower firm. PM also welcomed the support of the American Federation of Teachers as it criticized the government’s slow action.

“PARS International Placement Agency is the local partner of the US-based Universal Placement International Inc. which is the subject of the teachers’ complaints. PARS International Placement Agency is listed in the POEA registry of recruitment agencies as good standing and with a license to operate from October 17, 2006 to October 17, 2010. We ask the POEA to motu proprio start the process of delisting PARS International Placement Agency if not it will have one more year to victimize OFWs,” stated Renato Magtubo, PM chairperson.

In the POEA registry that is available online, http://www.poea.gov.ph/cgi-bin/agList.asp?mode=all, PARS International Placement Agency has an address at Suite 407 J&F Divino Arcade, 961 Aurora Blvd. Cubao, QC with a certain Emilio Villarba as official representative. The Filipino migrant teachers allege though that PARS International Placement and Universal Placement Agency are both owned by Lourdes “Lulu” Navarro, the respondent of the case at the Louisiana Workplace Commission.

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11-23-2008 Filipino migrant teachers in US fighting illegal recruiter through blog PDF Print E-mail

Press Release
November 23, 2008

Filipino migrant teachers in US fighting illegal recruiter through blog

A group of Filipino migrant teachers in Louisiana, US is battling their illegal recruiter and is organizing for the redress of their grievances using the blog as a tool. In early November, the "Concerned Filipino Migrant Teachers of Louisiana, USA" have been using what they called the Pinoy Teachers Hub (http://www.pinoyteachershub.blogspot.com/) as a venue for discussion of their plight.

The teachers are accusing their recruitment agency, among others, of overcharging of placement fees and the premature collection of the same which is tantamount to illegal recruitment and a violation of Republic Act 8042 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995.

At least 200 teachers were placed through the agency and deployed in five different school districts in Louisiana but the bulk of them are in the East Baton Rouge Parish School System. They were issued a 1-year working visa (H1B) instead of the usual 3-year H1B visa.

Their recruitment agency is the PARS International Placement Agency with a Philippine address at J&F Divino Arcade, 961 Aurora Boulevard, Suite 407, Quezon City and the US-based Universal Placement International of 3345 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 407, Los Angeles, California. These two entities are owned and operated by one family. A certain Lourdes V. Navarro is the owner of Universal while is Emilio V. Villarba is the agent of PARS.

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10-28-2008 Women workers protest commodification of migrant women at Global Forum PDF Print E-mail

Press Release
October 28, 2008

Women workers protest commodification of migrant women at Global Forum

After the big rally led by workers yesterday on the first day of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), today it was the turn of women to be at the frontlines of protest against the “commodification of migrant women.”

Women workers and poor from the Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) joined the thousand-strong rally today organized by the People’s Global Action. A hundred members of PM wore nurses’ uniforms while other rallyists dressed up as domestic workers, caregivers at entertainers in a dramatization of the travails of women migrants.

“The trend is towards feminization of labor migration. In the Philippines last year, half of the new hires were women. The feminization of labor migration and the lack of protection for migrant workers results in rising cases of abuse, harassment and rape,” explained Judy Ann Miranda, secretary-general of PM.

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10-23-2008 Statement on Migration PDF Print E-mail

Statement on Migration
23 October 2008

For a paradigm shift away from labor export to domestic employment
For a global movement of workers to protect migrant rights and welfare

A funny thing happened on the way to the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD). While the excesses and essence of globalization has been exposed with the unraveling of the financial meltdown and economic recession in the US that threatens to go global, the framework of the GFMD remains firmly in the grip of the neoliberal agenda.

The Partido ng Manggagawa (Labor Party) as the independent political party of the working class in the Philippines, oppose the GFMD for its framework on migrant workers is “economic development” not human rights. Behind its stated goals of “maximizing remittances and the benefits of migration” is the opportunist attitude that migrant workers are commodities for sale not humans with rights. Among its participants is a preponderance of big businesses with interests in the remittances of migrant workers.

Just last week a Filipino worker in Saudi Arabia was killed by beheading while another Filipino migrant is scheduled for a similar fate in the coming days. What can the GFMD do to save migrants workers? The main problem it is trying to solve is how to profit from remittances not how to protect migrants.

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