Holiday Scrooges

December 23, 2009

The Evil, Unforgivable, Reprehensible Scrooge Award goes to the CNMI DOL for refusing to assist Ms. Josephine Flores in repatriating the body of her beloved, deceased husband, Evaristo.

The foreign contract worker had legal status when he died on November 6, 2009. The CNMI DOL ignored appeals from the Federal Ombudsman Office, the Philippine Consulate and the widow, Ms. Josephine Flores.

The widow, with the help of the Philippine Consulate, wrote a formal letter to the CNMI DOL on November 10, 2009 appealing for her husband's body to be repatriated to their homeland. They did not reply! The office has consistently ignored her continued pleas for assistance. This is the same local labor office that is appealing to the federal government to maintain control of their local labor system because it is "better than the federal system." (In your dreams Kaipat, Fitial and volunteer.)

Finally, on December 4, 2009 the DOL told Ms. Flores to seek assistance from the Federal Ombudsman Office in order to get her husband's body repatriated to the Philippines. The directive was repeated to Ms. Flores the next day.

As I wrote in a previous post, PL 15-108 mandates that the last employer of record is responsible for repatriating the body of the deceased. That last employer of record is Helen Sablan, director of the Medicaid Office. Ms. Sablan has been contacted by a guest worker group and others, but also refuses to fulfill her obligation of repatriating the body of her former worker as is required by law claiming she does have the money. She can share the Greedy, Uncaring Scrooge Award with all of the thousands of other CNMI employees who were and are responsible for the suffering of the foreign workers through the routine theft of wages, and for their disregard of laws and regulations to the extreme detriment of the cheated workers and their families. Ms. Sablan should raise the money, take out a bank loan or sell some possessions to fulfill her legal and moral responsibility!

A letter that Ombudsman Pamela Brown sent to DOL Secretary San Nicolas on December 16, 2009 remains unanswered. No surprise there. I still am waiting for answers to my inquiries from this game-playing department.

From Ms. Brown's letter:
Mr. Flores was a contract worker and had legal status under Commonwealth law when he died. P.L. 15-108, like the Non-Resident Workers Act before, mandates that the last employer of record be responsible for the costs of repatriation. I am, therefore, somewhat confused by your staff referring her to me for help. Could you please enlighten me as to the change in the law, if there is one? If there is not a change of law, then please advise me of the status of Ms. Flores' request for assistance.
I am sure there are funds set aside for just such a situation and am also sure that you will provide the humanitarian assistance requested by Ms. Flores. CHC has advised Ms. Flores that her husband's body will be disposed of here if it is not repatriated by the end of the month.
For saying that they will "dispose of the body by the end of the month" the CHC gets the No Compassion Scrooge Award. I would advise CHC if they do not want to face the wrath of advocates, federal officials and the possible involvement of the U.S. Congress (I am contacting members today) they better not even think of disposing of the body.

Finally, on December 23, 2009 Jeff Camacho of the CNMI DOL informed the widow and Philippine Consulate that there was no money to repatriate the body and that "DOL failed to secure a labor bond." Find the money! What a lie! The governor can spend $50,000 a month to retain attorneys to sue the federal government but we are to believe that there are no funds to ensure that CNMI law is followed and some respect is shown to a foreign contract worker and his family? This is the governor that is claiming the local labor system is oh so wonderful and better than other labor systems? Please! The Ultimate Spin and Propaganda Scrooge Award goes to the Fitial Administration. Reach into your pockets and do the right thing you scrooges!

DOL failed to secure a labor bond? The "we are better than the federal system" CNMI DOL did not secure a labor bond? Why? As a favor? As an oversight? Then DOL, you pay! Have the volunteer pass the hat among the employees that can't seem to enforce the local labor law that their own deputy secretary claimed to have penned. Find the money. May the Ghosts of Christmas Present, Past and Future haunt every one of you scrooges until you each develop a conscience and find your moral compass. Do the right thing you scrooges!


Anonymous said...

Is that a picture of hell?

Wendy said...

Yes it is. What is it symbolic of? The hell that the CNMI government and DOL have made for the guest workers and their families by not enforcing the local laws. Or interpret it any way that you want.

Anonymous said...

It is what we have come to expect from the labor department.

So I guess Fitial, Vilagomez, Seimer, and their puppet Cinta share the award.

Anonymous said...

CNMI government employees can have their car insurance, loan payments and other personal expenditures taken out of their paychecks in increments every two weeks. I think they call the service "allotments." Why can't the CNMI government pay to have this man's remains sent home for burial, and then take $50 per paycheck out of this woman's check? And who issued the Labor bond for this worker? The bond is mandatory. Under PL 15-108, the bond proceeds were due on demand, with any necessity for formal notice of potential claims or a hearing, as under the old law. So why can't DOL get this guy sent home by tapping the bond?

If I was Homeland Security, I'd be laughing hysterically at Fitial's "Let us run Labor because our law is better than yours" BS.

By the way, this is why no more permits should be issued for live-in housekeepers. Most of the people who have them truly cannot afford to pay them even the pittance that CNMI law requires they be paid.

Anonymous said...

Whose job was it to verify that the Labor bond was in place? That person should be fired, sued, or both.

Or did some official waive the requirement for the bond, because the employer was related, or connected? If so, fire that official, or sue that official.

Homeland Security should immediately close the border to all new alien hires, and issue a regulation requiring any employer who wants to bring an alien in to post a CASH bond to remain on deposit until the worker is repatriated. If you can't afford the cash bond, you probably can't afford to pay the worker, and you shouldn't be given permission to bring one in.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
captain said...

Wendy, in my past comment, I stated,probably since this "employer" was a Govt. worker that no bond was waived. So it goes on with the system.
I will comment more later. but a "connected" name also. So what else is "new"
But It is time the Feds (if possible) to get involved. But this is not surprising. But more to come. Very bad, but again typical" business as usual. "let it be"for this admin. "yeh, is that so?????

Save his carbon credits said...

Bury him here. I'm sure he won't mind.

Anonymous said...

Helen Sablan is making 0ver $42,000.00 a year as director of Medicade Office. It is baloney that she is claiming that she can not afford to ship the remains to the Philippines.

Call the attention of Lt. Governor Eloy Inos and I am sure he will act on this matter in haste.

Wendy said...

Anonymous 4:01

It's not YOUR decision. It is his family's decision AND it is the law. His body should be repatriated.

Anonymous said...

To you Save his carbon cr....

Have some respect and some good manners! How would you feel if this happens to you or your family? Won't you mind??

Anonymous said...

The carbon credits noni is typical of the attiude of the administration we will have to deal with for the next FIVE damn years.

Anonymous said...

Why aren't the newspapers covering this?

Anonymous said...

I wonder how fast DOL would find the money to send this guy's body home if Mrs. Flores took a full-page ad out in some major tourist publications, informing people who are thinking about visiting the CNMI that its Department of Labor treats dead workers like boonie dogs struck by passing cars: with indifference.

"Boycott CNMI!
Spend your tourist dollars elsewhere, until the late Mr. Flores is back home with his grieving family."

Anonymous said...

Good idea Noni 10:35
Let's pump out letters to the editor of all major newspapers in the USA, Japan, Korea, China and Russia. Let's also let the PI papers know that there workers they can expect to be disrespected not just while living, but after they die. Fitial administration, you SUCK.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:34
Yeah, I think it's time for us seek for help from the 2 giant tv networks in Phils. I'm sure they could easily spread this throughout US, Europe and Asia. I wonder what the Phils. Consulate is doing about this?

Anonymous said...

What are the two networks? Can you give us an email or contact information so we can all express our outrage?

Anonymous said...

9/F ELJ Communications Center, Lopez Drive 1103,
Quezon City, Philippines.

Telephone No.: (632) 924-4101
Fax No: (632) 411-1168

Mailing Address:
6/F GMA Network Center
EDSA corner Timog Avenue,
Diliman, Quezon City, 1101
To contact our writers, contributors, columnists or editors send your e-mail to with the name of the recipient on the subject line.

Multiculturalists Unite! said...

We need a new and improved multicultural cemetery. Maybe someone could take up a collection or introduce a legislation?