New Mexico sues firm that recruits

teachers from PH

INQUIRER.NET U.S. Bureau / 01:35 PM January 07, 2021


SANTA FE, New Mexico – A company that recruits immigrant teachers from the Philippines to work at public schools is being sued by New Mexico’s attorney general for allegedly charging exorbitant fees and using deceptive financial tactics.

Attorney General Hector Balderas filed the lawsuit Tuesday with a state district court in Albuquerque against Total Teaching Solutions International and CEO Janice Bickert of Ruidoso, alleging exorbitant fees to place Filipino teachers in schools on work visas, according to a report by the Associated Press.

Bickert and her company are accused of violations under the state unfair practices act.

The lawsuit seeks a permanent restraining order against the company, financial restitution to immigrant teachers, fines of $5,000 per violation and damages.


Balderas said that the lawsuit is needed to stop predatory business practices against immigrants during a teacher shortage. AP could not reach Bickert and company immediately for comment.

The company allegedly imposed fees of $15,000 on immigrant teachers for placement services. Other companies gave identical services for about $4,000.

“Once in the United States, teachers are forced to pay previously undisclosed additional fees, placement fees, or sign additional refinancing contracts,” the lawsuit states. “Teachers who are unable to pay the required installment of around $400 per month are subject to late fees.”


Filipino job applicants signed financing agreements allegedly without knowledge of their future salaries.

Total Teaching Solutions sued 8 teachers in 2019, alleging breach of contract, in cases set for trials before juries.

Janice Bickert’s husband, George Bickert, is the superintendent of Ruidoso’s public school district, and the suit states that the company may have relied on his position for an image of legitimacy.


Gatchalian pushes SIM registration


By Javier Joe Ismae, tmt, January 15, 2021


MANILA, Philippines —  SEN. Sherwin Gatchalian on Thursday called anew for the passage of a bill that requires the registration of all users of prepaid subscriber identity module (SIM) cards to enable authorities to easily trace online fraud.

Gatchalian, vice chairman of the Senate economic affairs committee, said a number of individuals in recent months have fallen prey to online fraudsters who hacked prepaid SIM cards.

The senator, who was himself a recent victim of online fraud, learned that the hackers managed to charge to his credit card account an online food delivery after accessing a security feature on web-based services — the One-Time Password (OTP) — using a prepaid mobile phone.


“When fraudsters gain access to OTPs, it’s as if they’re the actual owners of the account doing the transaction,” said Gatchalian.

The senator, who as early as 2016 filed a bill mandating the registration of all users of prepaid SIM cards, cited the urgency of regulating SIM card sale and distribution. He re-filed the measure in July 2019.

“The boundless stream of supply of prepaid SIM cards has become a magnet for illicit activities since the start of the pandemic. There had been countless cases of online fraudsters who used unregistered mobile numbers,” Gatchalian said.

“Mahalagang may mukha o pangalan sa likod ng mga prepaid SIM cards lalo na ngayong panahon ng pandemya na kailangan ng contact-tracing. Anong kaibahan kung gagawin ng requirement ang pagre-register ng mga prepaid SIM cards sa requirement na kailangang mag-register sa mga lugar na pinupuntahan mo para sa contact-tracing (It is important that prepaid SIM cards bear the pictures or names of their users especially now that there is a pandemic, which needs contact-tracing. What difference does it make if we require the registration of prepaid SIM cards from the requirement of registration of places visited for contact-tracing purposes)?” he said.

Under Senate Bill 176, or the proposed “SIM Card Registration Act,” users of prepaid SIM cards must present a valid ID and photo and sign a control-numbered registration form issued by the service provider of the purchased card.

Copies of the forms will be furnished to the service provider and the National Telecommunications Commission.

Presidency not for women?

That’s dad’s opinion, says Sara

Edith Regalado (The Philippine Star ) - January 16, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines —  Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio yesterday brushed aside the comments of her father, President Duterte, that the presidency is “not for women” when he expressed opposition to her running for president in 2022.

“That is his opinion. And it is up to the people if they will respect or react violently (to it),” she said at her City Disaster Radio program a day after the President made the remarks.

The mayor emerged at the top of a recent mock poll on the possible candidates for president in next year’s elections, but the President shot down the idea.

“My daughter, they are encouraging her (to run for president in 2022). I have told Inday (Sara) not to run because I pity (her), knowing she will have to go through what I am going through,” Duterte said in English and Filipino at the launch of the Skyway Stage 3 project last Thursday.

“This is not for women. You know, the emotional setup of a woman and a man is totally different. You will become a fool here. So... that is the sad story,” he added.

His remarks sparked controversy in a country that has elected two women presidents – Corazon Aquino and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Also, leaders of Germany and New Zealand are women.

Responding to criticisms from women’s rights advocates, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. defended the President over his remark made in the context of a father-daughter relationship.

“He’s been through hell and just wants to spare his daughter the same journey. It will run counter to the human rights of women only if it is denied by law, by executive order, by social prejudice and any other constraint. But verbal, I think not,” Locsin said in a post on Twitter.

“In reaction to his daughter running to replace him, which she has repeatedly unequivocally turned down.


Now that’s class; no other Filipino family has ever scorned power so deeply inter-generationally. But the way of putting it was admittedly sighing. C’mon, give him his due,” he said in another post.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) secretary was reacting to a post by women’s rights advocate Elizabeth Angsioco that Duterte’s statement “runs counter to the human rights of women.”

“We’re back to the stone age. It is perspectives like this that result in the country not being able to harness women’s potentials & skills. The country loses in the end. This also runs counter to the human rights of women,” Angsioco wrote on Twitter.

Joining other women’s rights advocates in slamming the opinion raised by Duterte, Sen. Risa Hontiveros said his remarks would not faze Filipino women.

“Filipino women have endured and overcome more than his presidency, and we will help take it back for a more worthy administration,” she said.

Vice President Leni Robredo, who belongs to the opposition Liberal Party, has yet to comment on the Duterte’s remark that women are not cut out to be president.

Fil-Am mother is missing in Chula Vista, California US Bureau / 11:21 AM January 15, 2021


Searchers are looking for Maya “May” Millete, a Filipino American mother of three in Chula Vista, California, who has been missing for a week.

Millete, 39, was last seen Thursday evening, Jan. 11, in her Chula Vista home near the San Miguel Ranch area, according to her loved ones. Her car is still at her residence and her phone has been going to voicemail since her disappearance.

Searchers are looking for Maya “May” Millete, a Filipino American mother of three in Chula Vista, California, who has been missing for a week.

Millete, 39, was last seen Thursday evening, Jan. 11, in her Chula Vista home near the San Miguel Ranch area, according to her loved ones. Her car is still at her residence and her phone has been going to voicemail since her disappearance.

She is 5-feet-2-inches tall, weighs about 105 pounds, has brown hair and eyes and freckles. She has a wrist tattoo.

Millete has three children, aged 4, 9 and 11. Her family had been planning a birthday party set for this past weekend for her oldest child at Big Bear Lake, near San Diego.

Her kin thought she was just blowing off steam in her locked bedroom after an argument with her husband the day before. They have contacted hospitals, jails and morgues, but she hasn’t been found in those locations. They have organized a search party to look for her.

Police are not yet treating her disappearance as a criminal case, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. The Chula Vista police created a missing person case for Millete and have a detective working to find her.

Anyone who has seen Millete or who knows of her whereabouts is urged to contact the Chula Vista Police Department at (619) 691-5151 and refer to case number 21-00932. Millete’s family can also be contacted here and appreciate any tips the public can offer.

© Philippine Sentinel 2021

The First Filipino-American Community Newspaper in Texas Since 1987

Opinions expressed herein are those of the bloggers and do not 

necessarily reflect the position of The Philippine Sentinel.

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