Disturbing News

October 23, 2010

This has been a week of disturbing news from the CNMI.

According to CNMI law, the last employer of record is responsible for repatriating a worker.  Yet the Marianas Variety reported that the body of Filipino foreign worker, Camilo D Laoeng remains in the morgue of the Commonwealth Health Center. He apparently suffered a heart attack and died on October 9th while at work. His employer is Matson Consulting.

A Saipan Tribune article states that Friends of the Marianas is raising money to help pay for the repatriation of the body and burial in the Philippines and is requesting community donations. While that is generous, Matson Consulting, said to be owned by William Matson, is responsible for the expenses. The company needs to fulfill its legal obligations and repatriate the body immediately for the sake of the man's family.

Where is the CNMI Department of Labor? Are they too busy contacting ICE officials to recommend deportation of foreigners who are legally in the CNMI to do their job?

Another registered sexual offender has been arrested for rape on Saipan. Someone should track how many violent criminals in the CNMI are pardoned and paroled before their end of their ridiculously lenient sentences.  It seems that every week or two there is another registered sexual offender arrested for sexual assault or rape of a young girl.

Last week Benson John D. Dela Cruz was arrested for the rape of a young woman.  From the Variety:
Court records showed that Dela Cruz was granted parole on Sept. 16, 2009. Dela Cruz was sentenced to six years imprisonment, all suspended except for four years, after he pleaded guilty to the sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree on Feb. 20, 2008.

In the new case against Dela Cruz, Manacop said police received a rape complaint on Tuesday, at about 9:51 a.m., at Kagman High School, where the 18-year-old victim and the mother were met by investigators.

Manacop said the rape incident occurred on the early morning of Oct. 16 within the Capital Hill area.
If he had not been paroled, but had been kept behind bars to serve the entire sentence, another innocent victim could have been spared.

The list of repeat sexual offenders is growing. The CNMI needs to adopt some serious laws that have minimum sentences for violent crimes including sexual assault, rape, murder and domestic violence.  There are far too many repeat offenders and an incredibly high incidence of rape for such a small population.

Aside from rape arrests there has been a rash of arrests involving  drug dealers selling "ice."  Four fell last week. In addition, Francisco Demapan who was arrested for ice In July 2010, was arrested again for possession last week.

Repeat offender Frankie Tudela Mafnas, also an ice dealer was given a lenient sentence of only 22 months in jail  by Judge Ramona Manglona. He has had two previous arrests.

Also, Li Ping Zhou was arrested in September for ice possession and rearrested last week.

The law enforcement officials need to trace the source of this drug if they are going to get a handle on this growing problem. Why not give these drug dealers stiff sentences without parole?

I received a disturbing email stating that a foreign worker was allegedly brutally beaten by a Saipan policeman a few days ago. The foreign worker is still suffering from his injuries. May the brutal cop be fired and may he spend many years behind bars. Thug.


Anonymous said...

For former employees with unbrella permits, when do the former employer's contractual obligations cease? Upon termination of employment? After 90 days or 180 days?

As a matter of law, does repatriating a "worker" include repatriating his remains? Which side prevails when there is any ambiguity in a contract?

Are the remains to be embalmed or cremated? One would see that the erstwhile employer would have a much greater financial incentive to bury the body on Saipan.

One good thing about federalization from an employer's perspective is that all such arbitrary and capricious costs will disappear. Federal regulations are unlikely to impose on employers costs of paying for food, housing, transportation (to and from country of recruitment and within the CNMI), and medical expenses. These are not mandated for any U.S. citizens in our country, and establishing a bureaucracy like the CNMI Department of Labor would be cost prohibitive.

There is no affordable, viable insurance market readily available for unpredictable obligations, such as death or medical expenses, in the CNMI. When an event of this nature occurs, it can shut down a business.

Risks should be borne by the party to whom they occur in nature -- the individual concerned. That is what happens to the children of guest workers. Imposing such burdens on business would stifle the economy even further.

Having the government absorb these risks, like is done in some European countries, is not a realistic possibility for the CNMI government.

It's not your money! said...

With the exception of the medical care, there never was any obligation for employers to provide room, board, transportation from the source country, etc., for hourly employees. Employers may have chosen to provide additional benefits, but DOL did not require them to. The idea that alien workers got all those things for free was a myth used to combat the minimum wage increases.

Wendy said...

It's Not Your Money: You are wrong:

§ 4536. Payment of medical and related expenses.
All employment contracts in which any branch, agency or instrumentality of the Commonwealth government is the employer shall provide for payment of the costs of health insurance for a foreign national worker, as defined in 3 CMC §4911, on the same terms as for citizen and permanent resident employees and other workers, and shall provide for the payment of the costs of repatriation, as defined in 3 CMC §4911.

§ 4911. Foreign National Workers: Definitions.
(j) “Repatriation” means the exit from the Commonwealth and travel to the point of hire for a foreign national worker or immediate relative of a foreign national worker by voluntary action of the foreign national worker; and in the case of the death of a foreign national worker while in the Commonwealth, the embalming and shipment of the body to the point of hire.

§ 4954. Responsibility for costs of repatriation.
(a) The last employer of record of a foreign national worker shall be responsible for the costs of repatriating that worker except that employment under a temporary work authorization shall not give rise to this obligation. For the purposes of this section, a person employing a foreign national worker without an approved employment contract or identification card or otherwise in violation of Commonwealth law may be held jointly or severally liable for repatriation costs whenever assessed.

§ 4964. Sanctions and penalties.
(l) Failure after thirty (30) days from assessment to pay repatriation expenses for a foreign national worker incurred by the Commonwealth shall be grounds for the Attorney General to order the Division of Revenue and Taxation to deduct the full amount of the repatriation costs and the full amount of the award from the employer’s NMTIT tax rebate.

Captain said...

Wendy, what you posted is correct,but to point out to 12:49, as far as housing and food, that is not required after a certain period of time.If I remember correctly, upon arrival of the employee, food and housing must be made available. The employees, at their option, can sign an affidavit that they will be responsible for housing etc. But the rest that you posted plus the employment renewal fees, bonding are to be paid by the employer.
In the past,we turned around and gave the employees a housing allowance and rented them the housing that we had available. (at their discretion)or they could go and rent outside. This option made our housing as rental units, and from becoming a "barracks" situation which also kept DOL from conducting "illegal" raids and searches which also maintained the privacy of our employees and their GF or wives and kids. They also, all paid the power and water.

Also notice that 12:49 states "hourly employees" It would seem to me that "hourly employees" would refer to "local hire" of US Cit.NOT CW.
Bringing in employees from outside of the CNMI before was only by an employment contract and for a specific "job" This goes also for CW employee transfer within the NMI..

Anonymous said...

BTW, do you have the cops name and employee name and the rest of the details.
I wonder why this was not in the papers?

Wendy said...

The victim is has been hidden. Federal authorities have been notified and I understand that a good attorney is representing him. He was seriously injured. I hope that this case is prosecuted as a hate crime by the U.S Attorney's Office so that the violent criminal/s goes to jail for 20 or more years.

I understand the victim was interviewed by the press.

The Saipan Blogger said...

The Variety reports today that the reported employer was no longer his employer. His contract had expired and he was allowed to stay in CNMI because of his umbrella permit. Since CNMI Labor gave out the umbrella permits, perhaps they are responsible?

Anonymous said...

3 CMC § 4954. Responsibility for costs of repatriation.
(a) The last employer of record of a foreign national worker shall be responsible for the costs of repatriating that worker except that employment under a temporary work authorization shall not give rise to this obligation.

So what happens if the terminating employer arranges a return ticket, but the employee refuses to return because of an “umbrella” permit? According to Marianas Variety blog comments, this is what the 60-year-old cemetery free-lancer did, who expired on the job.

Repatriation of remains is significantly more expensive than a passenger ticket. Is this liability open-ended (indefinite)?

What if the workers' family waives repatriation in favor of CNMI burial (and a share in part of the savings)?

Will this law even be effective after November 28, 2011? The enactment of Public Law 110-229 and its effect on Public Law 15-108 raise more questions than answers, particularly in the absence of any USCIS incorporating some or all of CNMI law.

Wendy said...

I guess Ms. Seimer and Ms. Kaipat can answer that, anonymous 11:32. There is also a provision in the law for bonding and for a fund for such circumstances. DOL should take the money from their fund:

§ 4924. Approved security contract.
(e) There is hereby created the Labor Trust Account Revolving Fund (LTARF) which shall be accounted for separately from the General Fund.
(1) All monies received as payments under contracts provided for in subsection (b)(3) above shall be deposited into the LTARF.
(2) Expenditure authority over the LTARF is vested in the Secretary. Monies in the revolving fund shall be available without appropriation by the Legislature and shall be used to pay judgments for repatriation, unpaid wages, and other damages against employers arising out of Department proceedings with respect to foreign national workers, which remain unpaid by employers or their bonding companies after sixty (60) days or as provided by regulation. The Department shall have a right to proceed against any such employer or bonding company in the place of
(e) There is hereby created the Labor Trust Account Revolving Fund (LTARF) which shall be accounted for separately from the General Fund...

The Saipan Blogger said...

Does CNMI law even still apply?

Wendy said...

Hi Angelo

The law was not repealed. It should be challenged in court -it is not even constitutional and attempts to preempt existing federal law in some provisions.