Pinoy nurses accuse travel agency of scam

A group of Filipino nurses expressed disappointment after their supposed European trip a week ago did not push through.
The group said the 13-day trip had been planned for 2 years. They said they had paid for everything–more than $6,000 each to the American Academy of Family Medicine–a travel agency that claims to specialize on trips for nurses and doctors.
However, when they were packed and ready to go, the group never received their tickets from their agent.
“It’s very hurting and unfair. We gave them want they want. They charged us and we paid them on time. But they did not give us anything in return,” said Alice Chavez.
Francis Gonzales, Chief Executive Officer of the American Academy of Family Medicine, reportedly sent out an email to the travelers, saying that added costs in airport and hotel fees caused the postponement of their trip.
In the email, Gonzales reportedly wrote, “As an appreciation for the inconvenience, we will send you a travel coupon valued at $1,000.”
But Gonzales asked for another $600 per person to pay for added costs to the trip, which the company will consider a loan.
“That company is Filipino-owned and operated. Yet they scam fellow Filipinos. I’m very disappointed. We cannot trust them,” said Joy Rosete.
The travelers said the only reason why they bought the tickets was because of the agency’s buy-one-take-one deal.
Ranielle Manzano said this experience taught her to be careful of too-good-to-be-true deals.
“You have to do your research. If you don’t get any trip confirmation from the agency, it’s probably not legitimate,” said Manzano.
The travelers now have 3 weeks off with no vacation and nothing to do.
Class suit
They plan to use the time to file a class action lawsuit and individual small claims suit against the American Academy of Family Medicine.
“We want to recover what’s rightfully ours from the scammer,” said Johnson Lim.
These travelers said they also plan to report the American Academy of Family Medicine to the Better Business Bureau to stop them from scamming other people.
The American Academy of Family Medicine has denied these scam allegations. Gonzales said that the payments they received could not cover all the costs, and he had no choice but to postpone the trip and ask for additional fees. Gonzales said those who do not wish to take a trip at a later time will be reimbursed.
Gonzales also reiterated that his company has been around for 30 years, and has brought several thousands of medical professional in tours and meeting all over the world.

Japan nursing exam won’t be in English – POEA

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has clarified that the Japanese licensure examination for nurses will not entirely be translated into English. The clarification came from a representative of the Japan Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW), according to the POEA, even as foreign applicants are struggling to pass the difficult exam.
According to the POEA, the MHLW is still studying recommendations from focus group discussions (FGD) that it conducted among stakeholders.
Participants in the FGDs include hospital presidents, officials and professors of nursing schools, and other interest groups in the field of nursing, along with the Institute of Human Language.
“Among the suggestions from the said FGDs were to paraphrase certain difficult words or expressions into easier terms, provide Japanese hiragana characters for certain difficult kanji characters, include the subject and object in the Japanese sentence construction, and annotate special nursing terms and names of diseases in English including internationally recognized abbreviations,” the POEA said.
Hiragana and kanji are Japanese writing systems, with the former being used for traditional Japanese words and the latter being ideographs borrowed from Chinese characters.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) earlier pushed for intensified language training for Japan-bound nurses and caregivers to give them a better chance of passing the difficult examinations there. (See: DOLE wants intensified Japanese language training for caregivers, nurses)
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz cited recent reports that no foreign applicant passed last year’s exams and only 1.2 percent of foreign applicants passed the most recent exams.
She said this was due to the difficulty of the examinees in understanding kanji and technical terms written in Japanese.
Maria Luz Talento, Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Tokyo officer-in-charge and welfare officer, meanwhile said the language program should focus on communication skills more than simply language skills.
Talento said that while candidate nurses and caregivers are able to speak Japanese, they have problems with oral and written communication with their co-workers and immediate superiors in their place of work.
Filipinos have been hired as nurses and caregivers in Japan under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement or JPEPA, which critics fear will result in further abuse of Filipino nurses in addition to trampling on the country’s sovereignty. (See: Jpepa to legalize abuses vs Pinoy nurses – CBCP) - via GMANews.TV

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