National Alliance for Filipino Concerns
info@nafconusa.org

Causes

MAGKAISA

 

ANTI-TRAFFICKING ADVOCACY

Throughout the years, NAFCON has provided immediate and long-term assistance and resources to victims of labor trafficking. Our advocacy is made possible through partnership and collaboration with lawyers, government agencies, service institutions, and organizations of trafficking survivors. We will continue to support the empowerment and leadership of Filipino workers in the broader movement against human trafficking.

BAYANIHAN RELIEF AND REHABILITATION PROGRAM

Natural disasters like typhoons and earthquakes are common in the Philippines. However, worsening climate situation as well as inadequate infrastructure and preparedness programs make the people even more vulnerable. NAFCON consistently responds to the needs of affected communities for relief, rehabilitation, and rebuilding. We partner with tried-and-tested local community-based organizations to provide timely and effective assistance to most impacted families and communities.

HEALTH & WELLNESS INITIATIVE

We gather culturally relevant resources and programs for the promotion of health and wellness of Filipino communities in the US and in the Philippines. We enjoin health workers and professionals to support and organize health clinics in areas where health services are lacking. This initiative includes a medical mission in an underserved community in the Philippines in the summer of 2020 with a goal to serve 1,000 patients and launching culturally sensitive health clinics across the United States.

COMMUNITY-BASED LEARNING PROGRAM

Our community-based education program ensures the well-rounded understanding of our culture & heritage as it relates to the evolving conditions of Filipinos globally. This program brings our participants outside of the classroom into communities to experience firsthand and develop a deeper understanding of the conditions of the Philippines. We also promote the connectedness of Filipinos in the Philippines and the United States.

NATIONAL CONFERENCE

This annual conference is packed with skills building activities and leadership training for Filipino youth and leaders in the community. Our vision is to empower our participants, celebrate our culture, and broaden our community engagement for Filipino concerns.

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Bayanihan for Relief and Rehabilitation Program

NAFCON has consistently responded and addressed the immediate needs of affected people for relief, rehabilitation, and rebuilding in the Philippines through NAFCON’s Bayanihan for Relief and Rehabilitation Program.

All Proceeds go to our trusted partners on the ground in the Philippines. NAFCON continues to engage with on the ground rebuilding in the Philippines particularly through our programs: adopt a community program, adopt a school program, Solidarity, Medical and Rehabilitation Missions to the Philippines.

For question and press email info@nafconusa.org or contact your regional coordinator for most local matters.

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Mobile Clinics – Annual Medical Mission

Rationale

Tondo is a historic working-class district in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines. But despite its proximity to the country’s seat of power, it remained a marginalized cluster of urban poor communities. It covers a big part of the city bordered by the port area in Manila Bay, the fishing port in Navotas, the Divisoria and Binondo commercial centers, and an old manufacturing hub in south Caloocan.

The Tondo communities near the port area are home to the poorest sections of the Manila population. Many residents are minimum wage earners in the harbor and nearby factories while the rest are part of the informal sector working as vendors, pedicab drivers, and even scavengers. Poverty and malnutrition rates among children are highest in this part of the city.

Tondo is the face of Philippine poverty. It was once the site of the infamous ‘Smokey Mountain’, a Manila dumpsite. The garbage has been removed from Tondo but not poverty and its notoriety as a slum area.

Basic services are sorely inadequate and even non-existent in many barangays (villages). Residents are threatened with eviction to pave way for so-called disaster preparation, environment protection, and business promotion. The government has recently embarked on a campaign to ‘rehabilitate’ Manila Bay. But many suspect the real intent is to enable the reclamation of Manila coastal areas  which would mean the displacement of Baseco, Parola, Hapilan, and other Tondo communities. Both the local and national governments have already signed contracts with real estate developers and big business ventures to transform a big part of Tondo into a casino and shopping destination.

Since 2016, Tondo has become the center of Tokhang drug-related extrajudicial killings in the country. Police operations have orphaned many children aside from inflicting trauma to many survivors. Tokhang has hampered the delivery of vital services such as health and education.  

It is in this light that the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) invite concerned members of the community in the US to a medical mission in Metro Manila from July 29-August 4, 2019

Goals of Mission

  • Provide medical and psychosocial services and health education to community members.
  • Learn about the needs and conditions of the communities.
  • Meet local groups working on immediate concerns and long-term well-being of the communities.
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Justice for Trafficked Garland ISD Teachers!

Justice for the Trafficked Garland ISD Teachers!

What is the injustice?

  • From 2005-2012, almost 300 foreign-hire teachers, 70 of whom Filipinos, were recruited by the Garland ISD. Many of them are victims of labor trafficking as exemplified by:
    • Forced to pay in excess of $15,000 in recruitment and legal processing fees
    • False promise of green cards
    • There were no jobs available upon arrival in North Texas as required by H1B visa policy resulting to teachers having to apply for jobs for several months
    • Teachers forced to work in part-time positions for over a year in violation of the job contract. Some were not employed at all, forcing them to look for employment outside GISD or go back to their home country
    • 8-12 teachers forced to live in Victor Leos’ stepson Paul Reudiger’s 3-bedroom house in Garland charged for $2,400/month, which was excessively higher than the market rate
  • Victor Leos, the GISD Human Resource Executive Director, was convicted of committing visa fraud, where he was sentenced for only 2 years in federal prison.
  • After 13 years of service, some of the teachers are now suffering from revocation of status, unemployment, financial hardship, family separation, and health problems.
  • In a letter from the US Assistant Attorney (Department of Justice), all visa filings done by or through Leos will be revoked.
  • Despite teachers meeting with Garland ISD in public and private, the School District has not acknowledged the crime committed against teachers and has not offered any concrete support.

 

What the teachers have done What Garland ISD has done
Complied with all the steps as required by GISD representatives and legal counsel during the recruitment process Failed to ensure that the recruitment and hiring of foreign teachers was compliant with federal law
Adhered to GISD rules, policies, and guidance during employment Neglected to provide proper guidance while withholding information on potential risks and impacts of the visa fraud on the teachers
Pled repeatedly to meet with Human Resources officers to discuss and ask for GISD’s assistance on immigration and employment issues Reluctantly met with the teachers individually, not collectively (divide and conquer tactics)

Instructed teachers to withhold information from other teachers regarding the revocation of immigration status

Misled a teacher to sign a resignation form not in the best interest of the employee

Did not provide options available to the affected teachers

Berated and blamed teachers stating that they brought the situation upon themselves

Neglected to inform the teachers of their rights as victims of visa fraud and trafficking and ways to protect themselves and their families

Stated “[GISD] is an entity, and we have to protect ourselves”

Stated “the law is the law, and the law is not sympathetic”

Spoke at Board of Trustees meetings to seek support and resolution Ignored the teachers by not reaching out to address their concerns
Sought and continue to seek accountability for the visa fraud and trafficking Continuously disassociates and distances itself from the visa fraud and trafficking by pointing to one person, Victor Leos.

Escaped responsibility for allowing Leos to commit the crime for several years

 

How are you impacted by this injustice?

  • As a GISD foreign-hire teacher, you were exploited and forced to leave GISD.
  • As a GISD foreign-hire teacher, you are potentially in danger of having your immigration status revoked.
  • As teacher, you could potentially lose a colleague.
  • As a student and parent, you have lost and could potentially lose good teachers.
  • As a taxpayer, your hard-earned money was used in the visa fraud involving GISD.

 

What does justice look like?

  • As victims, for the affected teachers and their families to obtain protection from deportation, immigration relief and legal status, and equal employment opportunity.
  • For all perpetrators in the US and the Philippines to be held accountable.
  • For GISD to:
    • Publicly acknowledge that the affected teachers are victims of crime and had no participation in the visa fraud.
    • Dialogue with the affected teachers collectively regarding concrete support and assistance.
    • Fully disclose their hiring policy of foreign teachers, including financial considerations and decisions.

 

How can you support?

Contact info:

 

Let us stand with our teachers and fight for justice.

#LetThemTeach #EndHumanTrafficking

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