Monday, June 21, 2010

RP Labour Official: 'We Don't Tip-Off About Undocumented Filipinos'

Consul Edna May Lazaro (standing, in red) explains the role and functions of the Philippine Consulate General in Toronto at the Newcomers' Orientation Conference.

PHILIPPINE VILLAGE VOICE - Redefining Community News

Currents & Breaking News
Volume 4, Issue No. 19
/ News That Fears None, Views That Favor Nobody /

. . . . . A community service of Philippine Village Voice ( for the information and understanding of Filipinos and the diverse communities in North America . . . . . .

The News UpFront: (TOP STORY) as of Monday, June 21, 2010
~ The spotlight was focused on Filipino caregivers and overseas workers -- modern-day heroes who help prop up the Philippine economy to the tune of US$17 billion last year. In Toronto, a labor official paid tribute specifically to the caregivers whose work in many Canadian households is seen as critical to the livelihood of Canadian employers. He asked every Filipino in Canada to come out and register with the consulate and not to fear being reported to Canadian immigration if they are undocumented. An educator, meanwhile, took note of the fact that caregivers are an important link, helping relieve stress and improving the quality of life of elders.

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'We're Not Going to Squeal on You,' RP Labour
Official Assures Undocumented Filipinos


TORONTO -- A Philippine labor official assured dozens of Filipino caregivers attending a local forum here not to fear being reported to Canadian authorities even if they did not have the documentation to work or stay legally in Canada.

"Ang konsulado hindi po nagsusuplong ng mga kababayan. Ayaw natin mangyari yun -- na ma-deport kayo sa Pilipinas," (The consulate does not report on illegals. We don't want them deported to the Philippines) declared Eric Parungao, Welfare Officer of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office here.

Eric Parungao makes an assurance that the Philippine consulate will not tip-off Canadian authorities on the presence of undocumented Filipinos in Toronto.

He was addressing the whole-day Newcomers Orientation Conference on Saturday (June 19, 2010) where an estimated 150 Filipino workers and newly-arrived jobseekers were in attendance at the Lady of Assumption Church in Toronto's North York region.

The program was a joint undertaking of the Catholic Community Services, Kababayan Community Centre, the labor office and the consulate as a means to help newcomers from the Philippines and elsewhere adjust to a new life and culture in Canada.

Parungao's assurance was met with silence and cynicism and a few applause. But he continued to calm fears though it wasn't clear if there were undocumented jobseekers in the group.

Apparently his message was also intended to flush out those who went underground and in need of consular help after being victimized by so-called "third party representatives" or unscrupulous agencies.

About half of the estimated 200,000 Filipinos across Canada live and work in the Greater Toronto Area. Many of them take jobs as nannies, caregivers, housekeepers, nurses, etc.

"The consulate is dedicated to the service of Filipino nationals," Parungao emphasized repeatedly.

He devoted much of his 15-minute talk to stress the importance of their jobs.

"Without you," he told the mostly-caregiving audience, "the means of livelihood in Canada would be at a standstill because Canadians would just be taking care of their children or their elders".

Cindy Litchman, an educator who also spoke at the gathering, said Filipino caregivers basically become "surrogate" children of households, taking care of children under 18 years, or elders above 65 years.

Some of the estimated 200 participants in the Newcomers' Orientation Conference on Saturday (June 19, 2010) at the Lady of the Assumption Church in northern Toronto.

"They (the caregivers) help relieve stress on the sandwich generation (parents taking care both of their children and their parents)," she said. "They also help improve the quality of life of elder people," she added.

Litchman urged Filipino caregivers to be more assertive in their workplaces and in dealing with their employers.

About 15,000 to 20,000 caregivers come to Canada every year from the Philippines and other countries, notably Hongkong.

(This Currents & Breaking News may be posted online, broadcast or reprinted, on condition that the author and the publication be properly credited. By Romeo P. Marquez, Editor, Philippine Village Voice, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Volume 4, Issue no.19, June 21, 2010).

Some of the officers and members of the sponsoring organizations.

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