Global alliance for overseas Filipinos Migrante International today welcomed a Manila regional trial court’s decision sentencing illegal recruiter and trafficker Isidro Rodriguez to 11 years in prison for victimizing a Filipina teacher.
According to Migrante, Rodriguez has just been convicted for one crime when he has numerous other pending cases of large-scale and syndicated illegal recruitment and estafa lodged against him by some 500 Filipino teachers here in the Philippines and in the United States. Three batches of teachers have also filed cases of trafficking-in-persons against him at the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Rodriguez duped the teachers through his agency, Renaissance Staffing and Support, Inc., formerly Great Provider Service Exporters, Inc., with its US partner Green Life Care International, LLC. The PH Embassy in the US said that Rodriguez tops its list of most notorious illegal recruiters and traffickers.
His victims are all licensed and professional teachers. They were all promised teaching positions in different schools in the United States, only to later learn that the said jobs were fictitious and all part of a grand trafficking scheme.
Rodriguez was able to collect a staggering average of Php500, 000. 00 from each of them as payments for their “processing, service, pick-up, housing and interview fees”. Most of the payments were made from their hard-earned savings, while majority of them resorted to borrowing money from relatives and friends, banks and loan institutions with high interest rates.
Last April 23, 2014, in the Philippines, the teachers organized GURO (Grupo ng mga Gurong Umuusig kay Rodriguez). GURO represents at least 300 teachers, and their families, who were victimized by Rodriguez. He recruited teachers in batches, with each batch consisting of about 10 to 15 victims. Migrante International is currently aware of at least 20 batches scattered across the country, and at least 200 teachers in the US. The US-based teachers have already filed trafficking visas with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and some have been granted their T-Visas.
According to Loel Naparato, spokesperson for GURO, “While we welcome this decision, 11 years is not enough for Rodriguez. 11 years is just for one victim. All of his victims demand justice and should likewise be compensated for all the sufferings and hardships we faced because of his treachery. Tuloy ang laban para sa hustisya para sa aming mga guro.”
Rodriguez remains at large as of this posting. Last May 10, GURO, along with Migrante International and Gabriela in Washington, DC, launched a manhunt for him after he was previously released following a Makati RTC’s dismissal of another case against him, “People of the Philippines versus Isidro L.Rodriguez, docketed criminal case nos. 13-2830 to 13-2834”.
For her part, Engelyn Belmonte of GURO, said, “Now that he has been convicted, we expect authorities to launch an active manhunt for his arrest. We also call on our fellow teachers, supporters and advocates to join us in the manhunt for Rodriguez and our quest for justice. We call on our teachers, let us teach them, people like Rodriguez, a lesson.”
“Teach Them A Lesson”
GURO and other advocates recently launched a global campaign entitled, “Teach Them A Lesson: A Campaign for Justice for Trafficked Teachers”, year-long campaign against illegal recruitment and trafficking.
GURO said, “Through ‘Teach Them A Lesson’, we hope to push for the speedy resolution of specific cases of trafficking and highlight the gravity of the trafficking problem itself. We hope to make perpetrators like Rodriguez accountable. More importantly, it shall expose the government’s ineptitude and hypocrisy in the anti-trafficking campaign in the light of its continuing program for labor export.
Teach Them A Lesson aims to raise awareness and broaden support for victims of human trafficking. It shall stress the need for unity and solidarity between victims and survivors, on one hand, and their allies and supporters, on the other hand, by highlighting the importance of our teachers in our personal lives and in society.
Teach Them A Lesson means forging the broadest global unity possible against human trafficking through various activities and actions that would link international participation through grassroots activities, militamt actions, global linkages, lobbying efforts, social media and other creative means of protest.
Culmination dates are on December 12 International Day against Trafficking, December 18 International Migrants’ Day, February 14 One Billion Rising: Rise for Revolution, March 8 International Women’s Day, March 17 Death Anniversary of Flor Contemplacion, June 7 National Migrants Day and the upcoming Permanent People’s Tribunal against Aquino to be held in Washington, DC in July 2015.
For any information about Rodriguez, please contact Migrante International through landline number 9114910 or mobile number 0921-2709079. ###