"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

Shock, Disgust & Outrage on the plight of Pinoy Teachers in Louisiana Recruited by Lulu Navarro of UPI

The stories of migrant workers falling prey to exploitative debt of servitude that is akin to modern day slavery is often heard mostly on domestic helpers in the Middle east, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia but to hear such in the state of Louisiana, USA is unthinkable and defies logic. Unfortunately, all indications seems to point in that direction and you would think that the people behind these dastardly act are coming from the TraPos (Traditional Politician) but are private individuals who seems to be following the logic or rather illogical mindset below:
You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary.......Philippine Lawmaker
The difference is they think otherwise in terms of volatility or even close to getting scared at the repercussions on the woes and misery they subject their clients keeping them in debt of servitude victimizing them like modern day slaves counterpart of the Sacadas of the sugar plantation. The illegal and unjust fee demanded to be paid in advance before they leave for the US to PARS International Placement Agency managed (Philippine counterpart of UPI) by Mr. Emelio Villarba (brother?) of Lulu Navarro CEO of UPI (Universal Placement International, Inc.) forced the teachers to obtain loans with exorbitant interest rates from their designated loan companies, to quote:
The Federation is acting on behalf of Filipino nationals who were hired in Caddo Parish, East Baton Rouge Parish, Jefferson Parish and the State Recovery School District in New Orleans. Each teacher was charged about $15,000 by Navarro to obtain a job, and was then required to sign over 10 percent of the monthly salary to UPI for two years. The total amounted to some 37% of the teachers’ salary.
In an editorial at the Shreveport Times they are shocked that exploitation is happening to college educated teachers, to quote:
Exploitation of workers, foreign or domestic, is usually an injustice we presume is more common to the poorly educated and economically desperate.

That it would happen to college-educated teachers is both shocking, as Caddo Parish Superintendent Gerald Dawkins termed it, and a testament to the powerful lure of a job in America.
Actually, Filipinos highly educated or not are subjected to exploitation all their life due to the stranglehold of the corrupt politicians in an environment where corruption is so endemic. What is shocking, no I digress what is disgusting, is when you see Filipinos exploit their own people shamelessly exporting their criminal mindset and criminal acts to foreign lands is what is sickening. But then again, this is how things are done in a dog eat dog society where abuses and exploitation is a common occurrence. LFT president Steve Monaghan says:
The alleged behavior of this recruiter and the treatment of these teachers is quite frankly disgusting and an affront to basic American values.
Indeed it was and hopefully, the strong arm of the law which no doubt will reach them as LFT (Louisiana Federation of Teachers) and AFT (American Federation of Teachers) filed a complaint on September 30, 2009 for violations of state and federal law with the Louisiana Workforce Commission and the Louisiana attorney general against Lulu Navarro of UPI, Inc. (Universal Placement International, Inc.).

As if 37% that is unjustly extracted from the teachers is not enough, of the twenty five teachers recruited for the Recovery School District in New Orleans, Navarro was even paid $47,000 by the State Department of Education for services rendered.

The teachers was not given a choice to choose their roommates, separated from their friends, not allowed to seek alternative living arrangements cramped four to a 2 bedroom apartment. They are forbidden to socialize with fellow teachers who were ahead of them or even socialize with the local Filipino communities, now why would Navarro and her staff want to keep the teachers in the dark? Any “infraction” such as complaining or questioning the arrangements was threatened with losing their work visas or hit with lawsuits in California where Navarro’s company is located.

Ma. Janet Añover is one of those hit with a lawsuit in Los Angeles, California who was forced to sign a new contract in Los Angeles when her place of employment is in Baton Rouge, Louisiana without the benefit of reading the content much less even question it under threat of being sent back to the Philippines.

Item no. 8 of Añover's request for dismissal in Case No. LAM09M06203 is an extension on the “code of silence” demanded on the teachers, to quote:
It is also important to note that the Plaintiff recently filed libel and breach of contract lawsuit to harass one of our colleagues whom Navarro suspects of initiating an internet blog (www.pinoyteachershub.blgspot.com) that exposes Navarro's cruelty and the agency's abuses. The case, which was filed in a Los Angeles Superior Court, was dismissed as the Honorable Judge ruled that the blog is a constitutionally-protected forum on issues imbued with public interest
You would think that only the Filipino teachers are subjected to intimidation but lo and behold here is one interesting incident in Pasadena, California. When UPI was seeking a contract to recruit speech and language therapist for the district, it caught the attention of The Greatschools Internet listserv founder Rene May. This prompted May to do a brief internet search on UPI and Lulu Navarro who was offering district administrators free trips to the Philippines to meet potential new staffers living there shared the same name of a convicted felon. Wanting to verify he tried to call the office of Lulu Navarro but to his surprise was visited by Los Angeles detectives on complaints of harassment and was warned by Navarro’s lawyer below:
There’s a bigger issue at play, many bigger issues at play here,” continued Silverman, who nonetheless added he didn’t “have authority” to discuss those issues other than to say “the information about this particular transaction is incorrect — be careful what you publish.
Unaware and intentionally left uninformed of their individual rights that is guaranteed in the US and as foreign national facing threats of costly out of state lawsuits virtually guarantees acceptance of the reported indignities imposed by Lulu Navarro and UPI as observed by Monaghan. LFT is asking for relief from the illicit contract to be voided and believes that as soon as they are released from the shackles of exploitation other Pinoy teachers will come forward with additional complaints. Aside from voiding of all the illicit contract LFT is asking for restitution for the teachers, fines and appropriate criminal penalties for the principals of UPI, plus attorneys’ fees.

It appears that Lulu Navarro failed to disclose her felony conviction which is part of the requirement to be accredited as a placement agency and sadly America is a trusting society and what you declare is taken as the truth as people are honest. Well, obviously and hopefully this culture of trust stays and that fraudulent criminals will not revert society backward towards a culture of mistrust like in the Philippines where transactions are unduly delayed due to the culture of mistrust necessitating cumbersome presentation of numerous documentations.

Alleged violations of law according to LFT:
Specific violations of Louisiana state law stem from Louisiana statutes and administrative code. They include the following:
  • Failure to maintain an office in Louisiana. State law requires an “onsite manager for that location, or an on-site consultant who has successfully passed the private employment service examination.”
  • Failure to provide a $5,000 bond to the state.
  • Failure to post all the appropriate licenses to operate, an approved applicant schedule of fees, and copies of the Rules and Regulations Governing Private Employment Services.
  • Illegally collecting fees from both the employer and the applicant.
  • Illegally charging teachers employed in Louisiana fees prior to arriving in the state.
  • Illegally charging fees to applicants who were never employed by a Louisiana school system.
The union complaint also raises a question of federal immigration law violations. Fees charged to candidates for the H-1B visas used by Filipino teachers must be paid by the employer, not the employee. But in a letter to the human resources director of the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board, Navarro explained that some $6,600 in visa application fees is charged to the teachers.

In the case of the Recovery School District, Navarro was paid by both the teachers and the state.

“These migrant teachers were exploited by outrageous and illegal fees, and apparently Louisiana taxpayers were likewise exploited,” said Monaghan.
Lourdes “Lulu” Navarro according to the complaint documents of LFT is the same person that made the news back in 2000 who pleaded no contest on the following criminal case below:
Superior Court of the State of California Case No. DJ00WF0152, AG Docket No. LA99MC2837, People of the State of California vs. Hospital Circle Medical laboratories, Inc., Imran Shams a/k/a Sam, Lourdes Navarro a/k/a/ Linda Navarro and Zubair Main Younis.

First Amended Complaint
Ct. 1: Health benefits fraud
Ct. 2: Grand theft
Sp. Allegation: Loss over $ 50,000
Sp. Allegation: Loss over $150,000
Sp. Allegation: Loss over $1 million
Ct. 3: Money Laundering
Ct. 4: Identity theft
Ct. 5: Identity theft
Ct. 6: Identity theft
Ct. 7: Fictitious drivers’ license
Sp. Allegation: White Collar Crime, Loss over $100,000
Sp. Allegation: Limit on Grant of Probation
What is peculiar about the case is the fact that all the Filipino teachers recruited from the Philippines and placed in the state of Louisiana for teaching jobs in the school districts for math, science and algebra subjects needed to bolster the SAT scores of the students were required to apply for a SSN (social security number) in Los Angeles instructed to use UPI’s office address in Mid-Wilshire. In the affidavits of the teachers they noticed that when the SSN card was handed to them the envelope is evidently opened instead of sealed. Rightly so the teachers have a valid cause for concern because no one has the right to tamper or open these envelopes especially when the one given access to this vital information could be the same Lulu Navarro, the convicted felon as shown on Exhibit B, Item 21:
I offer to the court the following facts as the basis for my plea of guilty to a felony:

From December, 1998 throughout August, 1999, in Orange County, I along with others conspired and acted to knowingly & willfully cause false claims to be submitted to Medi-Cal, which caused a loss to Medi-Cal in excess of $1 million. The proceeds were laundered into cash, and I also used the names of doctors Chards, Barron, & Crumley without their permission to create false documents in support of the money stolen from Medi-Cal. I additionally had in my possession a false drivers license in the name of Carlos Reseda.
If a Philippine Ambassador a dignitary such as Lauro Baja is accused of Human Trafficking in the Marichu Baoanan case, does it really come as a surprise that our very own kababayan are capable of mistreating their own?

Other Migrant related articles:

Subscribe in a reader
Pedestrian Observer Group Blog
Click on the images to receive your free email updates
POGB will not sell, exchange, use or allow any 3rd party access to your email for
any other purposes without exception, email exclusively for article updates only.

Follow PJ @ Facebook, NetworkedBlogs, & Twitter

3 Speak Out:

Related Posts with Thumbnails