THE social media exchanges among Filipinos in New Zealand have gone amok, after PTV’s Erwin Tulfo came out with a news feature on his visit in New Zealand.
Not only did he endorse a company that sponsored his travel, he stated that through the pathway student visa, one can enter New Zealand easily bringing along family members and with opportunity to work.
Many have commented on how misleading his claims are and how scandalous it is for a media person, more so broadcasting in a government television station, to promote a company with a vested interest. For sometime now, the term “Student Trafficking” has been used to describe the operation of private agencies to lure individuals to take the pathway student visa when there is no certainty in obtaining residency. True that one can work for 20 hours per week, but whatever income one obtains is not enough to pay for rent and daily sustenance. And bringing along the family may just be the worst thing that can happen as many have either been deported or have voluntarily returned to their country of origin, due to the failure in obtaining residency. There have been a number of incidents of suicide among Filipinos who could no longer extend their stay in New Zealand, but this has not been reported officially as the families of those who died would prefer to keep these private. The possible reasons for the suicides could be that most of them have unpaid borrowings back home and the shame of returning from overseas penniless.
What seemed left out by Tulfo was the cost charged by agencies. In Tulfo’s FB, Bratinela Senyora commented: “Maghanda ka ng mga klahating milyon pra mkpasok s New Zealand. Mataas din ang cost of living,” while Lyn Jarencio wrote that her friend had spent P2 million in the past two years.
But what has angered most Filipinos in New Zealand was the unfair comment of Tulfo regarding Philippine Ambassador to New Zealand Jesus Domingo. The biased journalist tried to impress that the diplomat is making it hard for Filipinos to enter New Zealand and that he is against President Duterte. Whoever fed these craps to Tulfo must have been affected much by the persistent campaign of Ambassador Domingo against private agencies that have fleeced Filipinos on the false pretense that pathway student visa can easily lead towards residency. While Domingo frequently makes FB comments on issues affecting Filipinos in New Zealand and espouse his philosophy of Universal Diplomacy, he has been apolitical. If using Tulfo’s influence (if he has any) to get Domingo out of New Zealand is the aim of these shenanigans - that won’t happen.
Filipinos in New Zealand are generally involved in issues affecting migrants. Not only do they express their stand in social media, they organize activities that protect migrants from nefarious activities and shady institutions. For as long as Domingo is the ambassador and Filipinos who’ve settled in New Zealand are vigilant, misinformation on studying and migrating to New Zealand will not succeed. Not in the Land of the Long White Cloud.