Angel Thoughts

Manila Bulletin, September 19, 2006 | Go to article overview

Angel Thoughts


"Like water, be peaceful

Like earth, know balance

Like fire, love passionately

Like wind, be free...

Life is a blessing,

Enjoy His love."

-- Chuchi de Vega

Filipino nurses are still our most "exportable" human resource to the US despite the nursing exams leak and hopefully, even with the recent "revelations" of some newly-landed nurse in New York on the allegedly shabby treatment they received from their employer, the SentosaCare LLC.

I was still in Vancouver when the sensational story of how poorly some 27 recruited nurses from our country were handled in New York broke.

Reading from the Internet site of the news, I was appalled, as I am sure of our "kababayans" were, on the reported "abuses," starting from the non-payment of their plane tickets to new York, contracted salaries, health insurance, malpractice insurance, housing, their transfer within the wide network of SentosaCare facilities in the state, etc.

The story was disturbing since Sec. Mike Defensor, the President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's chief of staff, was reported to have "intervened" for the recruiter.

And the chief complainant was the 2004 medical board topnotch Elmer Jacinto who took up nursing for a "better life" in greener pastures.

"Api na nga sa sariling bayan, api pa sa New York!" (He's already down-trodden in his own country, her suffers the same fate in new York!)

Or so I thought. Then I came across someone from the Sentosa group and I asked for the truth behind the story.

I was given all the papers on the case and I had to change my initial judgment on the issue after poring over them... there are really two sides to any issue, the truth and the half-truths, and this cased has them.

****

I saw proof that Sentosa paid for all the plane tickets of the nurses plus some -- immigration fees, medical fees, insurance and malpractice fees and more -- contrary to the claims by the nurses.

As a footnote, it surfaces now that the nurses' leader Elmer gave a sad story about being duped by another recruiter which touched Ben Philipson, CEO of SentosaCare.

As a result, Philipson asked his office to immediately process his papers for an immigrant Visa to the US.

SentosaCare has had a good record of hiring the finest nurses from all over the world and it likes our Filipino nurses for their compassion and skills.

****

However, when Jacinto arrived in New York, he asked that he be allowed to "buy out his contract" from working in SentosaCare facilities to work in a hospital.

(Sentosa facilities are not hospitals but are accredited centers providing for thousands of residents on a 24-hour, seven day a week basis. All nurses were informed of this during their process of recruitment back in Manila. Each facility offers different areas of medical expertise, services and programs from long-term care to shot-term rehabilitation.)

This request was not granted since it would be violating the rules and regulations of his immigrant visa.

Besides, it would put SentosaCare in a bad light as it would appear that they were bringing in nurses not for their facilities but for other purposes.

After his request was denied, Jacinto again asked to be transferred to another facility near a medical school so he could pursue further studies and eventually work as a doctor.

This was granted (as with other similar requests by other nurses) but apparently this was not good enough for Jacinto. …

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