Thursday, September 13, 2007

Fil-Am Group Slam POEA's Support for Illegal Recruitment

News Release
September 13, 2007

Reference: Rico Foz, Executive Vice President, National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, email: nafconusa @

Fil-Am Group Slam POEA's Support for Illegal Recruitment

The nationwide alliance of Filipino-American organizations known as the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns or NAFCON, denounced Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) Administrator Rosalinda Baldoz as an "avid supporter of the illegal human trafficking of Filipino workers at any cost," after the POEA dismissed charges filed last year by the Sentosa 27, Filipino health workers who were illegally recruited to the United States by the Sentosa Recruitment Agency in Ortigas.

The alliance, which has gathered worldwide support for the victims, including the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (NaFFAA) and Gabriela Women's Partylist, pointed to "political interference" as the culprit behind Baldoz's decision.

"Ms. Baldoz seems to take orders from Americans, rather than Filipinos. We are concerned since the expose that US Senator Charles Schumer called Baldoz asking her to lift the previous license suspension on Sentosa after the 27 filed their complaints," stated NAFCON spokesperson Rico Foz. "It is no secret that Sentosa owner Bent Philipson is a major benefactor to Schumer's campaign. This is tantamount to the support and condonment of illegal recruitment."

NAFCON also slammed misleading claims from the US government that the case was dismissed.

"If Baldoz is basing on the US Department of Justice's (DOJ) so-called ruling in favor of Sentosa, she is completely incompetent. That misleading lie has since been retracted. The Sentosa 27 case is still alive under the DOJ's Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO), after it was stalled under the Office of Special Counsel (OSC)," Foz added.

On his part, Sentosa 27 lawyer Felix Vinluan, who clarified initial media reports that the Sentosa 27 case was still alive with the US DOJ, sounded unconvinced of Baldoz's competency.

"Please do not believe every word that comes from the mouth of some Philippine government officials, who are quick and eager enough to share the misinformation that the nurses complaints have been dismissed. These Philippine government officials are just showing their true colors. They do not really serve the Filipino people. Because of money and influence, they are willing to turn a blind eye to the discrimination being committed against their fellow Filipinos," Vinluan ended.

For more information on the Justice for Sentosa 27++ Campaign, visit ##