FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 21, 2014
Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA, email@example.com
On May 21, GABRIELA USA organizations and their allies in San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and New York City launched a deluge of phone and fax messages to the Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines to the U.S. Concerned citizens of the U.S. and Filipino community members expressed their dissatisfaction with the steady stream of migrant Filipino workers trafficked under the direct knowledge of the Philippine government. Furthermore, the community is outraged over the recent premature release of Isidro Rodriguez, who late last year was arrested and detained for crimes related to his illegal recruitment practices.
Since 2003, hundreds of teachers have been illegally recruited and trafficked to the U.S. by Philippines-based recruitment agency owner Isidro Rodriguez. Over this duration, numerous case complaints have been reported to Philippine Embassy officials and the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) about the contract substitutions and exploitative work conditions these trafficked teachers experience in the U.S. These complaints have been met with slow and unsatisfactory response from the Philippine government officials and agencies who are purported to protect the rights and welfare of Filipino migrants.
Instead of serving due justice to these victims, the Philippine government has done just the opposite. GABRIELA USA received confirmation from Migrante International, an alliance of Filipino migrant organizations, that Isidro Rodriguez, a proven trafficker of Filipino migrant workers, was released on May 8, 2014 due to the settlement of a few teachers from a primary case. His early release disregards a significantly larger number of teachers currently pursuing cases against him. The Rodriguez was expected to appear before the Department of Justice on May 13th in the hearing of the trafficking case against him but failed to appear and will likely evade charges.
The email and fax barrage to Philippine Ambassador to the U.S., Jose Cuisia Jr., comes at the heels of an in-person meeting with community members at the San Francisco consulate office in which the Ambassador promised to pen a letter of endorsement for Isidro Rodriguez’s prosecution and re-arrest to the Department of Justice and the National Bureau of Investigation in the Philippines. Cuisia also made commitments to GABRIELA USA, Migrante Northern California, the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns and the trafficked teachers that he would pursue the POEA for licensing a proven human trafficker such as Isidro Rodriguez. Lastly, Cuisia communicated that he would follow up the Department of Homeland Security to provide immigration relief for the trafficked teachers victimized by Isidro Rodriguez.