Continuing the Fight for Filipino Teachers and All Overseas Filipino Workers on the 20th Year Death Anniversary of Flor Contemplacion

March 17, 2015
Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA,

On March 17, 2015, twenty years after Flor Contemplacion’s death, Filipino migrants and their families will rise up again in a weeklong series of actions from March 16-March 22, to exercise their democratic right to call for system change as more Filipino women overseas migrant workers are abused, exploited and enslaved under President Aquino’s term. Each day, an estimated 6,092 Filipinos leave the country (IBON Foundation, 2015 data), and women OFWs make up more than half the migrant workforce – 55%. Due to widespread landlessness, joblessness and poverty, mothers, sisters, aunts, nieces and grandparents are forced to leave and face dire and uncertain conditions abroad. More than 600 Filipino teachers experienced fraud and abuse by their recruiter, Isidro Rodriguez, of the Renaissance Staffing Support Center since 2003. Some 300 of these teachers were trafficked to the U.S., and forced to work under less than desirable conditions in the Washington D.C. area.

One year ago today, GABRIELA USA exposed the human trafficking scheme lead by Rodriguez, who is currently at large with two existing warrants against him for illegal recruitment and estafa. Recently, he was spotted in Granada, Spain, even when the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation barred him from leaving the country, and he continues to profit from the exploitation of OFWs. GABRIELA and Migrante International are calling for an urgent response from the Philippine Department of Justice other concerned agencies in Spain to arrest and extradite Rodriguez now.

Concurrently, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) has been meeting over the past two weeks at the UN Headquarters in New York to discuss progress and gaps in the implementation of the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for action, a global policy intended to improve the conditions of women worldwide. GABRIELA and the International Women’s Alliance (IWA) will lead protest actions outside the UN demanding truth, accountability transparency in the negation process on March 17, 12:30PM.

Please join GABRIELA USA in a week-long series of actions to continue the fight to end the exploitation of overseas workers, stop enforced migration of Filipino people, and continue to seek justice for the trafficked teachers. It is clear there is much to be done to improve the lives of Filipino migrant women here and abroad. President Aquino is faced with losing battle to regain trust in the people, and must resign now.