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The Voice of the Modern Living Heroes
T he Of fici al P u bli ca ti on of Fil i pin o EPS W or kers Ass oc ia ti o n - So u th K o rea (F EW A )
Volume 2 Issue 13 2011 NOT FOR SALE


overty is the common reason why Filipinas work abroad. The unavailability of jobs for them to earn and live a decent life forces them to abandon their traditional reproductive roles and seek better paying jobs for their productive contributions to the global chain of labor. Their emancipation from one form of bondage would be experienced again in a different form in a foreign land and, in some unfortunate cases, a lot worse that continue to put them at a disadvantage condition. Today, Filipinas are not just confined to child rearing and domestic chores but have become active in the international labor market. In the 80’ s and 90’ s the Philippines saw a rapid increase of women leaving the country to become domestic helpers in Brunei, Singapore or HK; factory workers in Taiwan; nanny and caregivers in some European countries; beauticians and dressmakers in the Middle East; nurses in the US and Canada, as well as entertainers in Japan. In the global job market, women are preferred because they are known to be more submissive. Companies pay them lesser than men. They rise in the ladder of careers very slowly or not at all with the so-called ― glass ceiling‖ , where women cannot reach further height since the climb is just an illusion. Often discriminated and marginalized are sob stories read and heard of Filipinas who fall victim to cruel employers if not grim tales of trafficking where they end up into prostitution. To be a woman and be poor is a burden. To be married, raising a family and at the same time working without help from the husband is double burden. But it is multiple burden for a Filipina or a woman migrant worker toiling to earn income to support her family while suffering the hazards of being an undocumented worker. This year, International Women’ s Day is being celebrated for its 100th year. The problem then of women who first started the march and campaigned for women’ s and workers’ rights continue to be experienced today. In her interview with Democracy Now!, Ms. Kavita Ramdas, who served as president and CEO of the Global Fund for Women said, the connection between women’ s rights and workers’ rights has always been closely linked. She added that the goal of having women as full and equal

participants in all aspects of their societies is in the context of larger struggles for justice. Women empowerment is a call that continues to reverberate in many societies. Women continue to experience different forms of discrimination and marginalization. Particularly in South Korea, marriage migrants and women migrant workers are vulnerable to all these kinds of injustices against them. Although there are many Filipinas happily married to their Korean husbands, there are also sad exceptional cases that make us shudder with gloomy tales of separation, divorce and even controversial deaths of Filipinas (read Cathy’ s story) who came for marriage in the hope of making their lives better. A concern that is not foreign to the experience of a Filipina migrant worker. Exceptional would be the case of a Filipina worker who gets good treatment or even considered as a family member from the factory owner she works for. Most often companies treat them as slaves to exact the salary they are paid for. Oblivious and insensitive of the particular needs and health concerns of women.

And the biggest challenge of all is the violence against women that continue to be perpetrated by their husband or their employers alike. Although Korea is largely a patriarchal society, with all the foreign wives and women in its workforce the pressure is tremendous for it to transform into a society that is respectful of its own women and of women of colors. Some foreign brides and women workers end up being trafficked into prostitution. Their husbands complain that they cannot fulfill their duties as wives due to language and culture differences, and, much worse, they were purchased anyway so that they can be sold like a commodity. Some unscrupulous employers would shortchange their work contracts as entertainers into selling their bodies to keep their working visa and get proper compensation. Discrimination, marginalization, and violence against women have been constant issues for centuries. Definitely there have been victories and changes in some areas of the struggle for women’ s rights. But Filipina migrant workers are asked, quo vadis? Time and again you have proven yourself courageous and independent, yet where will you find yourself, for yourself? Where to that will empower you? Where will that make you realize your dreams and be happy?

Ms. Jasmine Lee was featured in “Arirang Today” for her efforts in promoting Migrant women’s rights in South Korea. (photo from Arirang— Youtube Channel)


MARCH 2011

by The Philippine Embassy

Minister Bahk said that the issues raised would be considered by his Minuring the meeting, Ambasistry, and that “some of them would be sador Cruz mentioned that accepted in the future”. He declared, how1,680 Filipino workers and 308 ever, that the matter of extending the stay Korean employers submitted a of foreign workers beyond the prescribed petition to the Korean governtenure would have to be addressed toment, recommending improvegether with other Korean government ments to the EPS regulations. agencies, such as the Ministry of Justice The petition seeks the following and the Korean Immigration Service. which includes Indonesia, Thailand, amendments: Myanmar, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, BanglaDuring the meeting, Director General Han desh, Mongolia, Timor Leste, Pakistan, 1. Waiver of the retaking of the Chang-hun announced that for 2011, KoVietnam, China, Nepal, Philippines, KyrKorean Language Test and other rean will increase the quota of foreign giztan and Uzbekistan. The hiring of non requirements for workers who workers to 48,000. The figure is arrived at -professional foreign workers is aimed have returned to the Philippines, based on the number of workers whose to fill the vacancies in the manufacturbut who wish to return to Korea contracts will expire in 2011 (35,000) plus ing, agriculture and construction secunder the EPS scheme; the number of undocumented workers tors, which are normally shunned by 2. Extension of the age limit , (13,000). He warned, however that counKorean workers. which is 38 under the existing tries with a high rate of undocumented MOU; workers “will be subject to suspension of During the last six years, the Philippines 3. The extension of the stay of receiving process or rejection of the MOU sent a total of 26,217 EPS workers to workers beyond the prescribed renewal.” South Korea. A total of 1,250 have commaximum of four years and 10 pleted their contracts while another months; and Beginning 2004, Korea signed bilateral la- 6,452 will finish their contracts this 4. The reduction of the waiting bor agreements with 15 countries through year. period of six months before a the Employment Permit System (EPS), former worker can return to Korea for a new sojourn.


by The Philippine Embassy


he Assistance-to-Nationals Unit of the Embassy is handling ten cases of Filipinos detained by the Korean immigration this month for using fake identities. The Filipinos are workers under the Employment Permit System (EPS), the government-to-government hiring mechanism between the Philippines and South Korea. Last year, ten other Filipino EPS workers were refused entry by the Korean immigration because of assumed identities and passport forgery. Despite having valid visas and successfully complying with all the requirements for deployment through the EPS, the concerned Filipinos were sent back to the Philippines after South Korean immigration officials established that they had previously entered South Korea using a different name.

South Korea uses a database system that records the photos and fingerprints of foreigners entering or leaving the country. The Philippine Embassy also reports that some Filipino nationals have married Korean nationals using their assumed identities, resulting in serious consequences to their marriages and visa statuses. Those whose identities were assumed by other Filipino nationals will similarly face problems when they later decide to travel, marry or engage in other activities that will require strong proof of identification. The Philippine Embassy reminds all Filipinos to use only valid documents. Those who falsify documents or assume the identity of others, whether by theft or with the agreement of the other party, can be held criminally liable for their actions.

People and God-centered Association

SU LY AP INO Y is T he Off icia l P u blica tion of F ilip ino EP S W or ke r s A ssociat ion - Sout h K ore a (F EW A )
SULYAPINOY is accepting cash donations for its monthly printing\ expenses. You may deposit them @ Account # : 1002 640 334730 / Acct Name: Marcelino M. / Bank: Woori Bank - Hyehwa-dong Branch

MARCH 2011


Seeking Justice for Cathy Bonessa Mae Deocades
by Jinelyn " Jen" Betacura


ucky are those who could marry a husband who would treat them as a partner, a real wife. But what if, it turns to be the other way around. A Filipina named Cathy Bonessa Mae Tagpuno Deocades, 25 years old, got married on the 3rd of September 2009 in Pasay City Philippines to a Korean National named Park. They moved to South Korea after and gave birth to a baby girl last year. On January 11, 2011 Cathy was found dead in Gongju-City, Chungnam. Korea Police released a statement on the cause of death as suicide by hanging. Her friends and family were shocked about the news. Her father, ― Tatay Larino‖ , on a phone interview said, ― She is a promising child, a lot of dreams in life, she always think about how she can help us to make our lives better‖ . He related that few months before the incident Cathy called asking for help to be brought back home because of the abuses and maltreatments to her by her mother-in-law and her husband. Tatay Larino was angry and bothered by Cathy’ s revelation that she was sold to other men. On the police report, it was noted that she suffered from a postpartum depression and was confined to a hospital in October. In Cathy’ s case, her depression and mental instability could have been compounded by mixed emotions from her inlaws and husband’ s cruelty. The Korean Police did not conduct further autopsy after declaring the cause of her death. Tatay Larino requested an autopsy as soon as Cathy’ s remains arrived in General Santos City, Philippines. He related ― I saw Cathy’ s body and noticed the bruises all over her body and some burn marks on her abdomen. The rope marks on her neck are suspicious. It does not look like suicide to me‖ . The autopsy result made by Dr. Ma. Antonetta Odi M.D. Medical Legal Officer who performed the autopsy, found bruises over her body specially on the neck, and found full of food particles that are partially digested in her stomach, and cause of death is asphyxia by ligature strangulation.
Photos by Samuel Grado and Kuya Nhads

Ligature Strangulation is a form of asphyxia which is caused from constriction of the neck by ligature without suspending the body. Thus, putting into question the veracity of the report made by Korean police. Tatay Larino is asking help from the Filipino Community to help him in her daughter’ s case. He wants to come to South Korea and seek justice on the death of her daughter and seek the custody of their grandchild. The Osan Migrant Center offered help in securing for the visa to the bereaved family. MIGRANTE is offering plane ticket to the family, while other joint human rights groups will provide free legal services. MTU chairperson Michele and DAMAYAN are extending all the necessary assistance to the said case. There’ s a renewed call for solidarity among the Filipino community on the case of Cathy to give justice to her family and to prevent this tragedy from happening again. Responding to this call are several Filipino communities, like the Cheonan Filipino Community and Task Force Cathy Mae, that continue to push for the reinvestigation. About 19 Filipino women from Konju filed a

re-investigation of the case to Konju Mayor Jun Won Lee. A Filipina from Gongju volunteered to serve as translator for the Deocades family when dealing with the Gongju police. According to Consul General Sylvia Marasigan of the Philippine Embassy in South Korea, she already coordinated with the Korean Police about the case and is waiting for the original copy of the autopsy report for the conduct of re-investigation. Because of Cathy Deocades’ case, the Embassy is implementing a tighter screening of Korean grooms that go to the Philippines to marry Filipino women. The family of Cathy would like to find out the real reason of her death. If she committed suicide, they want to know the reasons for her to take her own life. And if found out to be murder, they hope that those who are responsible are put to justice.


MARCH 2011

Bread & Roses
by J ames Oppenh eim

Babae ka
ni Susan Fernandez-Magno Babae ka Hinahangad sinasamba Ipinagtatanggol ikaw nama'y walang laya Ang daigdig mong laging lang isang tahanan Ganda lang ang pakinabang sa buhay walang alam Ang pinto ng pag-unlad sa iyo laging nakasara Harapin mo, buksan mo ibangon ang iyong pagkatao Babae ka Kalahati ka ng buhay Kung ikaw kaya'y wala Saan ang buhay ipupunla Pinatunyan mong kaya mong magpaalila Ngunit kaya mo ring magpalakad ng bansa Ang pinto ng pag-unlad ngayon sa iyo'y napabungad Harapin mo, buksan mo ibangon ang iyong pagkatao Babae ka Dahil sa akala ay mahina ka Halaga mo ay di nakikita Bisig mo man ay sa lakas ay kulang Ngunit sa isip ka biniyayaan Upang ang tinig mo ay maging mapagpasaya Upang ikaw ay lumaya Lumaya ka Babae pinagpalaang ganda ng daigdig sa iyo nagmumula (Awiting pinasikat ni Susan Fernandez-Magno, 1956 -2009. Isang Filipinang aktibista, composer/singer at guro.)

As we come marching, marching in the beauty of the day, A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray, Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses, For the people hear us singing: " Bread and roses! Bread and roses!" As we come marching, marching, we battle too for men, For they are women's children, and we mother them again. Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes; Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses! As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead Go crying through our singing their ancient cry for bread. Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew. Yes, it is bread we fight for -- but we fight for roses, too! As we come marching, marching, we bring the greater days. The rising of the women means the rising of the race. No more the drudge and idler -- ten that toil where one reposes, But a sharing of life's glories: Bread and roses! Bread and roses!
( Th e slogan " Bread and Roses" is commonly associated with a textile strike in Lawrence, Massach usetts in 19 11.Th e slogan appeals for both fair wages and dignified conditions of women workers. { source Wikipedia} ) .

MARCH 2011 5

By Tin Camba

To those who can dream there is no such place as far away.
-Anonorking in another country is not as sweet as honey. Rough times and struggles will always cross the path. Adjusting to new culture, language, weather, and people around will always be part of the endeavors that come their way. Ma. Lourdes Buenaventura Espinola is working at UPITECH, INC., " Advanced LaserTechnology" in Quality Control / production team (R&D) located at Paju City. She is from Taguig, Metro Manila. She is a B.S. Tourism graduate majoring in Airline Operation. She used to work at Laguna Techno Park until she heard about EPS from her mother. From the night shift of her old job, she went to POEA to submit the requirements for the pre-screening in EPS. Although applicants were few, still, it took her until 4pm to finish the final screening of her papers. She passed and was informed she will be notified once an employer is available. She waited for almost a year and lost her hope so she decided to apply for Taiwan. She paid half of her placement fee and was about to leave for Taiwan when a letter from POEA arrived informing her that she got an employer. Right away, she withdrew her application in Taiwan to prioritize her application for Korea where she can earn more. She took care of all the requirements for


the application and even attended all the needed trainings without resigning from her job. She wanted to be sure that she can have the job. For that reason, she did the training in the morning and worked at night. Almost the same circumstances happened to Ms. Liezl R. Manalo. She works at DAESUNG Company as a Machine Operator. She is from Sta. Rita Pampanga. She has a Bachelor’ s degree in Business Administration majoring in Financial and Managerial in Accounting. Due to the low salary that she’ s receiving from her former job in Philippines, she decided to work abroad so that she can help her parents. She learned about the hiring information in South Korea from a friend of her mother who is already in Korea. According to her mom’ s friend, the salary is big. She decided to apply and submitted all the requirements to POEA. ― What I experienced in applying is not easy and not a joke. I experienced being pushed just to be able to register for the KLT exam and slept on the street using a box for a bed with other applicants. Thank God, I passed the exam and after a year and few months, I got an employer‖ , said Ms. Manalo. During their first year in Korea, they had undergone lots of adjustments with the language, food and nature of work. Ms. Lourdes, says she work the 4Ds job: dirty, difficult, dangerous and delayed salary. It was hard and degrading for a woman like me. I am the only female in that company. For Ms. Manalo,

Contributors: Zel Kim, Tin Camba, Sofia Jean Betacura

she was not used to the alternating shifts of work schedule in the factory. Mr. Ariel Espinosa introduced Ms. Lourdes to the ADHOC (an organization that addresses OFW issues when EPS was first introduced) headed by then Fr. Glen Jaron of Hyewha Catholic Church. She was encouraged to hold the position of secretary. Fr. Glen inspired her to become an active volunteer and was able to help other people unconditionally. Ms. Lourdes was appointed as secretary during the term of Mr. Ricana, then FEWA (Filipino EPS Workers Association) President, until she got elected currently as one of the board members. She believes that FEWA officer should be willing to help other people, be aware of the responsibilities as an officer, open minded and willing to cooperate to achieve the goal of the organization. Ms. Manalo was introduced to FEWA by a friend. She was invited to join the activities where she met the other officers and was encouraged by their missions and purpose. She then decided to become a member of FEWA. She was offered the vacant post of secretary. At first, she was hesitant because she knows that it is a big responsibility and FEWA is a big organization. It requires an officer who can devote time. But she took it as a challenge for herself so accepted the position. Lourdes and Liezl are the few women officers of FEWA who are active in promoting the interests and providing voice to Filipina Migrant Workers. In their own ways, they continue to engage in leadership roles through FEWA, an organization that continuously fights for the rights of Filipino EPS workers. FEWA helps to meet the needs and labor related concerns of OFWs. The organization through their Balik-tanaw program conducts humanitarian and philanthropic works. They provide computers to remote public schools in the Philippines and also administer financial support to calamity victims.


MARCH 2011


FILIPOS Women’s Committee
By Zel Kim Since FILIPOS is composed mostly of male members, and women have different needs and particular agenda in photography, our president Pete Rahon suggested to create the FILIPOS Women's Committee last February 3, 2011. It was then that the FILIPOS Women's Committee was founded and the group elected me as the Chair of the Women’ s Committee. Though I am still a newbie in photography and a woman with a family to attend to, it was not easy for me to accept the responsibility. Our first task involved topics and considerations for food photography, and some of our activities are to schedule cooking demos and PhotoFood sessions – workshops and kainan to enhance both cooking and photo skills. We then decided to schedule our first PhotoFood session last March 13, 2011, held along with our Pre-Nuptials Photo workshop in AIDA village (Incheon Women's Hotline). We didn't have any clue what food photography was, and had no idea how to shoot to achieve better photos so we did all the cooking and let the male members do the shooting. We were glad the outcome was excellent and learned more from them when they shared their photos in Facebook. From then on, I learned that there are things we have to learn to achieve better photos. The aesthetics of food photography, which styling goes and supports the look of the food to be appealing to the audience’ s appetite and taste, and the proper lighting and handling techniques. More importantly, I learned about friendship and cooperation. I could never be thankful enough to those who helped us out in the kitchen and to those who supported us. Maraming Salamat! Kamsahamnida!

Zel Kim and Corinna Estarija of FILIPOS

Photo by Levy H. Aragon

Pumunta sa Fund Transfer Section ng Korea Post branch na pinakamalapit sa inyo. KRW 8,000 lang ang Remittance fee para sa perang padalang aabot sa halagang USD 1,000 o KRW 1 M!
For inquiries, send email to

MARCH 2011 7

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