Saturday, November 8, 2008

Cheers to unity!

"You can chain me, you can torture me,
you can even destroy this body,
but you will never imprison my mind."

- Gandhi

This day is a special day. I was looking for something that I did not even noticed I lost. I kept on waiting for it to return because I know deep in my heart that I lost something and I want it back. I almost gave up. Im not sure what it was but I know there is something missing, a void in my consciousness.

But then I started to share my fears, my apprehensions, my angst, my agonies. Suddenly others did the same. Sharing. Describing their fears. Listening. Acknowledging each others' wounds.

Indeed, the oppressor can break my bones, torture me and even deny me food, but they can never control my mind, they cannot restrain me from dreaming of a brighter tomorrow, they can never stop me from aspiring for justice.

Then out of nowhere, something struck me. Suddenly I realized that I finally found what I am looking for... my STRENGHT.

- Sinag ng Tala

17 comments:

  1. and yes the LORD is our STRENGTH..PINOY TEACHERS CAN DO IT..GO.GO.GO..

    ReplyDelete
  2. In these hard times. Let us all find strenght from one another.

    -Teacher's Pet

    ReplyDelete
  3. Truth and kindness will prevail! Don't be scared to fight for what is right. Fight for your rights!!! Please let us know what we can do to help you.
    ~Pinay teacher in Seattle

    ReplyDelete
  4. MANILA, Philippines - Vice President Noli De Castro on Sunday said he would wage a serious campaign against illegal recruiters.

    “We should attack the problem at the source by arresting illegal recruiters before they can even victimize our poor countrymen," De Castro said.

    “Instead of repatriating our OFWs who suffer maltreatment, it is better to prevent them from leaving for destinations where they will only encounter problems."

    De Castro is the head of the newly created Task Force against Illegal recruiters through Executive Order 759 issued by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo last October 23.

    The task force is also composed of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Philippine Overseas Employment Authority (POEA), Bureau of Immigration (BI) and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).

    De Castro said the task force recently arrested a woman and her Turkish husband for illegal recruitment during an entrapment. - GMANews.TV

    *Pinay Teacher in Seattle

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you so much Pinay Teacher in Seattle for sharing our sentiments.

    As migrant workers, we should be one and in solidarity with the cause of protecting our rights.

    Yes indeed, your support, in any form is very welcome. Please help disseminate our cause to your network of friends and family.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Suggestion from the admin of this blog:

    So that the exchange of ideas can easily be followed please refrain from using "Anonymous" under the "Comment as:" option.

    Instead, select the "Name/URL" option. You dont have to use your real name of course. Be creative assign an alias to all your comments. Then simply leave the URL field blank.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I agree!

    BTW, my alias is EVA,di ako pweding magpakilala kasi baka ipapapatay ako ni Lulu Navarro (MUKHA DAW NYA PUMAPATAY). My trauma na kasi ako sa kanya.Sinigaw-sigawan na nya ako sa phone at tinakot...I'm one of the teachers - victim of Lulu Navarro(Universal Placement, CA) and Mel(Pars Placement Agency.

    Saklolo sa lahat ng teachers dito sa EBR!!!


    EVA

    ReplyDelete
  8. PEACE IN THE STORM.....LIFE can seem unbearable at times.Physical pain, difficult decisions,financial hardships,shattered dreams threaten to engulf us.We become fearful and perflexed.Plagued by doubts,we may even find it difficult to PRAY.Those of us who know the Lord through personal faith in Christ have in Him a calm retreat in the storms of life,even while howling winds of trial are sweeping over us.We can experience PEACE OF MIND AND CALMNESS OF SPIRIT.
    You must stay upon the Lord and come what may-winds,waves,cross seas,thunder,lightning,frowning rocks,roaring breakers-no matter what,you must hold fast your confidence in God's faithfulness and HIS everlasting love in CHRIST JESUS... Do you feel overwhelmed by your troubles?Fix your mind on the LORD.Ask for help.Then Trust HIm to give you peace in your storm..The secret of peace is to give every anxious care to GOD...GOD BLESS US ALL

    ReplyDelete
  9. Genesis,

    I agree that we should all strive for peace in our hearts and in our minds. Indeed, it is truly rewarding to live in peace. But what kind of peace do we really want to have in our lives?

    Peace of the contented? Contentment is relative because we all have different satisfaction intensities. One may be contented to be browbeaten and subjugated to an unfair condition as long as some of his/her needs, to the minimum, were met. I, however, find this attitude demeaning because we all deserve better than what we are having at hand.

    Peace of the intimidated? Damn! That is a kind of peace I’d rather not have. Some may tend to keep silent even if basic human and civil rights are abused. Nodding to the whims and caprices of the power hungry and ego trippers is heartbreaking to say the least. With this kind of peace, our hearts bleed and our pride is shattered because of constant fear. Don’t you think it is very ironic to live in fear to have peace?

    God is fair. God abhors oppression. God despises injustice. And surely God would want us to do more than just pray. For prayers without action will not bring us real peace. God will help us in so far as we are willing to help ourselves, in so far as we are committed to stand strong for what is right and oppose all forms of exploitation.

    What we really want to enjoy and I guess is the most significant kind of peace is Peace based on justice! We should never ever cease to ask questions, to clarify, to demand justice and to fight for what we believe in because it is only then can we genuinely live in peace.

    ReplyDelete
  10. gurong gala, mey tama ka! panindigan natin ang ating karapatan. pero sa ganitong paraan, lumaki lalo ang problema baka sa huli masakripisyo pa ang ibang kababayan natin na gustong mangibang bansa para sa kanilang mga pangarap. huwag na sanang pa gala gala pa, aksyon agad sa problema. puntahan mo si lulu at pagusapan nyo ng masinsinan paano malulutas ang mga pagdurusa ninyo. huwag kanang mandamay pa ng iba.

    ReplyDelete
  11. nagmamahal kay gurong galaNovember 30, 2008 at 1:24 PM

    gurong gala, dont ever give in with what the blogger suggests. the devil wants you to come out so you will be singled out, intimidated, prosecuted or even hurt. look what happened to ms. cruz (siya ba talaga si sinag ng tala?), its a good thing that the evil scheme was not able to have even the first base in the legal arena.

    we do hope the story behind navarro vs cruz will be opened in this blog so teachers will be more inspired to stand for the truth and fight for their rights.

    just please be firm and continue this fight. we rally behind you and behind your cause.

    p.s.
    after ng lahat ng ito, sana makilala kita gurong gala.

    ReplyDelete
  12. nagmamahal kay gurong gala, kung takot kang ma singled out, intimidated, prosecuted or even hurt si gurong gala, lumabas kayong lahat. akala ko ba marami kayong nabiktima at may hinaing kay lulu bat di kayong lahat sumalakay sa kanya? i thought one commented that there is strength in numbers, asan na yong numbers? still hiding behind the shade? one even said "know your enemy", alam nyo na kung sino e bat di pa kayo lumabas dyan at harapin ang problema? then sabi mo "we rally behind you", takot ka ba? tumatago ka sa likod ni gurong gala? dapat kapit bisig kayo. look what happened to ms. cruz na nag-iisang lumaban in behalf sa mga nagrereklamo, nasan na kayo? kahit behind her wala.

    ReplyDelete
  13. anonymous blogger,

    salamat sa pagtulong mo sa panawagan na magkaisa ang mga guro laban kay lulu, naway maunawaan ito ng iba pa.

    ang harapang pakikipaglaban ay isa lang sa mga paraan para makamit ang hustisya at tagumpay. marami pang ibang paraan, ang iba ay dapat ilihim ang iba ay dapat ipamayagpag. kaya't hwag mag-alala, nag-iisip at kumikilos ang mga guro, yan ang tiyak.

    sana'y maraming ms. cruz na magsilabasan at magkasamasama. kung ang isang tao ay hindi niya maitumba, lalo pa pag marami ang umaalsa

    ReplyDelete
  14. I am one of the Filipino teachers here in EBR and I am concern of what is happening and it is very sad. Not all comments reflect all the thoughts, opinions and experiences of each and everyone.
    The fees that we paid were clarified from the beginning of the process, we were given the chance to decide for ourselves. the process of the visas were expedited, in two months I was here in America with legal papers. PARS oriented my batch what to expect and the things that I should remember. When I, together with the other teachers arrived at LAX, two employees of Universal met us and stayed with us. Everything was already settled from transportation, food, and hotel. They also assisted us in getting our SSN. The following day, we were brought to the airport for our flight going to baton rouge. Again, a group of Filipino teachers were waiting for us. They prepared food and our apartment was ready for occupancy. The apartment has 2 bedrooms and 2 ½ toilet and bath, a den, kitchen, sala and dining area. There were 4 people in each apartment. Each of us is just paying $266.25 just enough for a nice apartment.
    We are just starting our lives here in USA. Our depths are already there, they are on their way to solving. We are still aiming for a better future not only for ourselves but most of all to our family. It is not an overnight process. Instead of complaining, let us focus our mind to our work, how can we make it better. If you believe, you are already the best. Why not helping others who need guidance to improve his/her self as a teacher. You might not know, somebody needs your help.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have been reading this blog for the past days. I am one of the teachers being deployed to the US by the Universal Placement and the Pars Placement. Yes, it is true that the first few years are extremely challenging but I will become smooth in years to come.
    We, teachers have arrived in the US with H1-B visa, meaning our stay is only temporary unless we will be petitioned by our employer to live and work permanently. We might lose our job any moment (I hope not). No one is ever sure who will have his job tomorrow. Some brag that we are competent teachers that the school districts will not give us up. Very funny and assuming!!! I thought it was rather a boast in its greatest sense. We are not citizens of the United States. We are petitioned only to fill in the gap on teacher shortage. Now that recession has been gobbling the country, many citizens have been interested in the job. I have a lot of friends employed in teaching and non-teaching jobs who are also in the brink of losing their jobs. Remember guys, that frugality is the name of the game in the US nowadays. Also remember, the doctrine FIRST-IN -FIRST OUT. It is already happening in California.
    Guys, it is good to have Filipino values and maintain them. However, such values might not work here in the US. We are here to solve employers’ problems and not the other way around. I thought it would be good to view the situations with a positive and hopeful perspective. Let us face our situation with grace and with a marked degree of professionalism. People who live in gossip, complaints and animosity will not see the beauty of life being intertwined with challenges. People want instant comfort. That might not happen here in an instant. It takes a great deal of perseverance and positive outlook in life. Many Filipino in the US started with a lot worse situation than we have now. Years of perseverance and patience, they reaped their success in the end.
    I remember the times when we lined up in the Philippines for interview for US teaching jobs. We were extremely nice. We signed the contract calmly. We knew it would cost us something. We knew what we would have to do the following year. Now, that the contract is in its execution, many of us are revolting. Why did we sign the contract in the first place? I assume that the contract is not the reason for your revolt; it is rather your loan in the Philippines and your personal obligation to your family. Do not attribute your financial difficulty to Universal Placement. Your financial difficulty is a product of your own decision. You did whatever had to be done. There are consequences in your own action.
    I am sure if it the agency were owned by Americans, we will not react the same way we react now. Because the agency is owned by a former Filipino citizen, you thought that Filipino values including an act of charity and benevolence should be in the picture. Business is business. I hope we know that. Contract is contract. It is a mutual agreement.
    I am very thankful to Lulu Navarro. I arrived in the US without a family and friends to start with. She found me a place to stay. It is not her job to look for housing but she did it because she knows that it is hard for us to find a place and have access to transportation initially. She is not a housing agency but she is going out of her way for us to continue with our life. It is challenging yes. Please forget about instant comfort as we are in an entirely new environment.
    Whether or not housing is good, what matters is we are housed. It is a lot better than looking for apartments or houses ourselves. I am sure we cannot find one as we did not have our SS number and credit history to start with. Did we have money to pay upfront for deposits and similar charges? Lulu did this for all of us. Some people are just inherently negative. All they want is to take and take and not give or share. Let us learn to be appreciative too.
    On the other hand, it is a fact that a number of us borrowed money from the financing agency in order to fly here. However, it is our choice to borrow. Never were we forced to borrow money from these financial institutions. It might have been suggested or recommended but it was never ever forced. I am in the same situation so I also experienced the same. All agencies in the Philippines have partnership with these financing institutions. I assume that the interests are big as they are loans without collateral.
    I just hope that our employers will not get tired of our drama. It is our personal drama and I do not see any reason why employers have to be included in the casting of our own drama. Employers do not want dramas. We solve their dramas. I am not surprised when our employer will get rid of us because of dramas. Now, will you still boast that you are competent teachers and that you are teachers to die for? I doubt it. I hope that we will not be labeled as drama queens and drama king because of our own action. I hope not. The worst scenario to happen is losing our job, the domino effect is more terrible than you imagine. Think about your own actions guys. I suggest that you just work and impress your employer within your job description. Do not include them in your drama. We are Filipinos and our employers are not. Chances of cultural differences and misunderstanding are at a certain degree. Filipinos have their own thinking so do foreigners. I hope you will not lose your job and your family will suffer very badly as a result. This is my opinion. Thank you very much.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Manigong Bagong Taon sa Lahat !!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I have been reading this blog for the past days. I am one of the teachers being deployed to the US by the Universal Placement and the Pars Placement.
    >> Being deployed? Is it still occurring? <<

    Yes, it is true that the first few years are extremely challenging but I will become smooth in years to come.
    We, teachers have arrived in the US with H1-B visa, meaning our stay is only temporary unless we will be petitioned by our employer to live and work permanently. We might lose our job any moment (I hope not). No one is ever sure who will have his job tomorrow.
    >> True. Even citizens are also affected by this crisis.>>

    Some brag that we are competent teachers that the school districts will not give us up. Very funny and assuming!!! I thought it was rather a boast in its greatest sense. We are not citizens of the United States. We are petitioned only to fill in the gap on teacher shortage. Now that recession has been gobbling the country, many citizens have been interested in the job.
    >>It is your opinion.>>

    I have a lot of friends employed in teaching and non-teaching jobs who are also in the brink of losing their jobs. Remember guys, that frugality is the name of the game in the US nowadays. Also remember, the doctrine FIRST-IN -FIRST OUT. It is already happening in California.
    >> I do not know what you mean by this, FIFO. There is also LIFO (last in first out). These concepts are used in merchandise.>>

    Guys, it is good to have Filipino values and maintain them. However, such values might not work here in the US. We are here to solve employers’ problems and not the other way around. I thought it would be good to view the situations with a positive and hopeful perspective. Let us face our situation with grace and with a marked degree of professionalism.
    >> You are hired to teach and not to solve employer’s problems. Those are not your concerns and are done on a different level.>>

    People who live in gossip, complaints and animosity will not see the beauty of life being intertwined with challenges. People want instant comfort. That might not happen here in an instant.
    >> I think you are wrong here. You deal with generalities without supporting these with facts. The people I met can not move about their
    personal business without the ‘prying’ eyes of the ‘tsutsu’. They just want their freedom to associate, meet or do anything. I have first hand information how the recruiter treated some teachers. For example, remember the incident that occurred in the orientation of the new teachers few months ago. They were witnesses.>>

    It takes a great deal of perseverance and positive outlook in life. Many Filipino in the US started with a lot worse situation than we have now. Years of perseverance and patience, they reaped their success in the end.

    >> I have sisters who dealt with employment agencies before. They did not pay a single dime. Sorry, I did not experience this and did not go through an agency.>>

    I remember the times when we lined up in the Philippines for interview for US teaching jobs. We were extremely nice. We signed the contract calmly. We knew it would cost us something.

    >> Was this the first time you signed a contract? Where did you sign the contract? Was there a third-party witness present when you signed this contract?

    Did you initialed each page? Was the contract notarized after you signed it?
    Did you ask if this was an “approved” contract? There are so many questions to be asked.>>

    We knew what we would have to do the following year. Now, that the contract is in its execution, many of us are revolting.

    >> If you have read my blog regarding the legalities involved in contracts then you would have an understanding why others are revolting. There is no need to elaborate here the concept since you only want to read what you want to read. Employment agencies under the law can only charge a fee of up to month’s salary- whether upfront payment or by installment. What language can’t you understand here?>>

    Why did we sign the contract in the first place? I assume that the contract is not the reason for your revolt; it is rather your loan in the Philippines and your personal obligation to your family.
    >>Your assumption is wrong. The reason is to recoup what is not supposed to be paid and to pay partially for the loan in the Philippines. Another reason is to stop this agency from doing business in the Philippines and the U.S.>>

    Do not attribute your financial difficulty to Universal Placement. Your financial difficulty is a product of your own decision. You did whatever had to be done. There are consequences in your own action.

    >> Of course, this is of personal responsibility. And now, it is being corrected
    by questioning the practices of the employment agency.>>

    I am sure if it the agency were owned by Americans, we will not react the same way we react now. Because the agency is owned by a former Filipino citizen, you thought that Filipino values including an act of charity and benevolence should be in the picture.
    >> Sorry. Your assumption is wrong again. Americans or not, the employment agencies are subject to US laws. Please go back what this person had done in the past. She was involved in Medi-Cal scam in the state of California. There is no need to elaborate here. Please read the other blogs not the ones you only want to read.>>

    Business is business. I hope we know that. Contract is contract. It is a mutual agreement.

    >>I agree totally. The business is also under the laws of the U.S. and laws have to be followed. No business is above the law. Once again, you failed to include this very important concept in your argument. Please read the blog about contracts so will know certain aspects about contracts. Contracts are also governed by Civil codes under the state of California laws.>>

    I am very thankful to Lulu Navarro. I arrived in the US without a family and friends to start with. She found me a place to stay. It is not her job to look for housing but she did it because she knows that it is hard for us to find a place and have access to transportation initially. She is not a housing agency but she is going out of her way for us to continue with our life.
    >> There is no such thing as free lunch. Your response is elementary as if you are very innocent of what happened regarding the rentals snafu. Some teachers did not have a choice but to accept and live in the apartment complex. You paid rent which is above the published rate and your beloved Lulu got a total of $12,000 a month just to refer you and others to that apartment compound.
    And you are thankful.>>

    It is challenging yes. Please forget about instant comfort as we are in an entirely new environment.
    Whether or not housing is good, what matters is we are housed. It is a lot better than looking for apartments or houses ourselves. I am sure we cannot find one as we did not have our SS number and credit history to start with. Did we have money to pay upfront for deposits and similar charges? Lulu did this for all of us.

    >>I got an apartment when I got here and did not have a SS. I did this all by myself. Do you think Lulu will do this for free?

    ReplyDelete

IMPORTANT. The following comments will be considered spam and will be removed: (1) not related or connected in any way to the topic and issues being discussed, and (2) excessive use of ALL CAPS. Thanks.