Filipinas Across US Demand Prosecution for Human Trafficker Isidro Rodriguez

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 21, 2014

Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA, gabrielawomen@gmail.com

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Melissa Reyes, Co-chairperson of GABRIELA San Francisco

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.

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Terry Valen, President of National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON)

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.

imagejpeg_1The 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.

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URGENT ACTION ALERT: Oppose Recent Release of Isidro Rodriguez and Demand Justice for Filipino Trafficked Teachers on May 21st

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GABRIELA USA is calling on our members, community allies, supporters and friends to take action on Wednesday, May 21st, to oppose the release of recruitment agency owner and human trafficker, Isidro Rodriguez, and the incompetency of the Philippine government to serve their compatriots with justice and dignity. We are writing to ask you for your continued support for our Justice for Filipino Trafficked Teachers Campaign.

Background

Since 2003, batches of teachers have been illegally recruited and trafficked to the U.S. by Philippines-based recruitment agency owner Isidro Rodriguez. Case complaints have been reported to Philippine Embassy officials in the past as well as to the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA). However, the response from the Philippine government has been inadequate and unsatisfactory.

GABRIELA USA received confirmation from Migrante International that Isidro Rodriguez was released on May 8, 2014 due to the settlement of some teachers from the first batch, but this disregards a significantly larger number of teachers pursuing cases against him. Isidro 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 to show up.

Our message

  1. Prosecute Isidro Rodriguez and Investigate Philippine Government Institutions NOW!

  2. Just reparations for trafficked victims! Cancel teachers’ high interest loans NOW!

  3. Hold accountable loan sharks in cahoots with Isidro Rodriguez!

  4. Immigration Relief for trafficked victims in the U.S.!

Join the Filipino trafficked teachers to demand justice for themselves and all other victims of human trafficking by taking the following actions:

Phone and fax barrage to the Office of Ambassador Jose Cuisia and the consulate/embassy responsible for your area of residence.

Office of the Ambassador (ambassador@philippinesusa.org)

H.E. Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr.

Tel: 202-467-9366

Fax: 202-467-9417

AND

The consulate/embassy responsible for your area of residence: http://www.philippineembassy-usa.org/philippines-dc/consulate-finder-dc/

SAMPLE MESSAGE:

“My name is __________, and I am (concerned/appalled/outraged) at the recent release of Isidro Rodriguez. He has committed crimes against hundreds of Filipinos and it is unacceptable that he has been irresponsibly released by Philippine authorities. I urge you to take action. You can do this by making a strong recommendation to the Philippine Department of Justice and to the National Bureau of Investigation to actively search for and re-arrest Rodriguez. Please also make a recommendation for a full investigation on the POEA for wrongfully licensing predatory recruitment agencies such as those owned and operated by Rodriguez. Lastly, with many of Isidro’s victims living in fear and in the shadows, please communicate with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to make an endorsement for immigration relief for the victims of Isidro. Thank you, and I look forward to your follow-up on this very important matter.”

Social Media Blitz to widely propagate the international manhunt on Isidro Rodriguez!

Take photos of yourselves holding the “WANTED” picture with the calls below and post it and share on social media (FaceBook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) with hash tags: #ProsecuteIsidro, #Justice4FilipinoTeachers, #gabrielausa

TWITTER INSTRUCTIONS

1) Follow the Justice for Filipino Trafficked Teachers Twitter account @j4FILteachers for updates, details and live tweets on May 21st.

2) Tweet your support and demand justice for the teachers!

Re-arrest and Prosecute Isidro Rodriguez NOW! #ProsecuteIsidro #justice4filipinoteachers #gabrielausa

Investigate Philippine institutions now! #ProsecuteIsidro #justice4filipinoteachers #gabrielausa

Just reparations for trafficked teachers! Cancel teachers’ high interest loans now! #ProsecuteIsidro #justice4filipinoteachers #gabrielausa

Immigration relief to trafficked victims now! #ProsecuteIsidro #justice4filipinoteachers #gabrielausa

Hoy @noynoyaquino! Nasaan ang katarungan? #ProsecuteIsidro #justice4filipinoteachers #gabrielausa

3) Tweet your own message/outrage and tag the following people and/or institutions to amplify our demands:

@PhilippinesUSA – Philippine Embassy of the United States of America

@noynoyaquino – Pres. Noynoy Aquino

@govph – Official Gazette of the Philippines

@poeanews – Philippine Overseas Employment Agency

@dojph – Department of Justice

@iacatnews – Inter-agency Council Against Trafficking

For more information, contact GABRIELA USA at gabrielawomen@gmail.com

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Trafficked Teachers, GABRIELA USA, Migrante and NAFCON Demand Answers from Ambassador Cuisia Regarding Recent Release of Isidro Rodriguez


Published by People Power Media on May 20, 2014

Representatives from Migrante, Gabriela-USA and the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) met with the Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. on 16 May 2014 regarding the case of Isidro Rodriguez who is responsible for over 200 counts of human trafficking.


Published by Balitang America on May 19, 2014

Representatives from the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, GABRIELA-USA, and Migrante Northern California met with Philippine Ambassador Jose Cuisia Jr. at the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco last Friday to demand justice for hundreds of trafficked teachers from the Philippines.