Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Filipino migrant teachers picket US DOL office

[Photo by teacher Zarelle Bernardo]
Last July 15, 2011, around 300 Filipino teachers and their supporters trooped to the office of the US Department of Labor (DOL) in Washington DC to protest the department's recent decision. The protest action was spearheaded by the Pilipino Educators Network (PEN).

The DOL's decision will affect more than 1000 foreign teachers. These foreign teachers who are mostly from the Philippines are holding H1-B visas.  They are victims of excessive fees by their placement agency and employer (Prince George County Public Schools).  After investigation, the DOL handed down a decision that penalizes the district. However the decision also penalizes the victims even harder by mandating that the employer will not be allowed to renew the teacher's visas for the next two years. This will result in a series of termination of more than 800 Filipino teachers.

Partido ng Manggagawa sent its statement of solidarity and released its position statement in support of the teachers protest action.


Anonymous said...

This is what happens when Filipinos don't want to fulfill their promise or contracts signed before leaving the Philippines. They use words like excessive fees by agencies, their employer, etc... ha.ha. Now what? The pinoy teachers won! Yey...yey.. however, they lost their jobs...

Is this what Juan Mangagawa is writing about our countrymen. About pain and suffering. It looks like he does not know anything about simple journalism.

Anonymous said...

I believe you are over simplifying the issue. It's not a matter of them not fulfilling their end of the contract. I can't say more about this since I haven't actually had the chance to get my hands on these contracts, have you?
I believe the point is how these Filipino teachers have been overly exploited. The Philippines is a country of 90 Million plus people and for every 4 Filipinos 1 is either unemployed or underemployed. In a country that cannot even stand on its own and has to rely on foreign aid, loans, export oriented goods - which almost all go to the pocket of the super elites - instead of developing its own industries to support itself; the people DON'T HAVE A CHOICE but to look for "greener pastures" elsewhere. The government, being the way it is, took advantage of this and even became an agent for exporting labor. Now the Philippines is 4th in rank for top senders of labor next only to China, Mexico and India; of course it ended up being the 4th in remittance reception as well. The government is even openly proclaiming that remittance is what keeps the economy afloat.

All of these combined plus the internal condition of the people in the country - the continuing suffering, the growing poverty, never ending exploitation - they see no future in working in their own country. Is going abroad the only way? No. But with the current condition, let me reiterate, the people see no recourse but to look for "greener pastures" elsewhere. Even at the face of exploitation by foreigners. At least they can feed their families.