Dead Filipino Maid Begins Journey Back Home to Philippines

Apr. 26, 2007

Community Farewell, Wake Set for Sunday, April 29th

New York After weeks of campaigning for a second investigation and Consulate-sponsored repatriation and burial fees, the body of Filipina domestic worker Felisa “Fely” Garcia will be received by her two sons, Garry and Gliff, when they fly to New York City this week to take their mother’s body to be buried in the Philippines. A community farewell and public wake organized by the Philippine Forum and KABALIKAT Domestic Workers Support Network is set for Sunday, April 29th, 4-8pm at the Greenwich Village Funeral Home. A prayer service is scheduled at 5:30 p.m. Garcia’s children as well as community advocates will be in attendance. The event will be open to the public.

Garcia, found dead in her Bronx home on March 14, 2007, has been the central figure of controversy involving what many deem as the New York Police Department and Philippine Consulate’s essential mishandling of the initial investigation and lack of consideration for alerting her family back in Batangas.

Through the primary assistance of the grassroots group Philippine Forum, Garcia’s two sons were able to secure visas to come to the United States and raise money for roundtrip airfare from the Philippines. The Philippine Forum, an 11-year community organization in Queens, through its domestic worker organizing project KABALIKAT, has been in communication with the family since news of Garcia’s death, and launched a massive community campaign to push for their demands. Among the first forms of assistance the campaign secured for the family was pro-bono legal representation to speak on behalf of the family’s interests to the proper authorities.

As a result of strong pressure from the community campaign led by Philippine Forum-KABALIKAT, the Philippine Consulate caved-in and offered a partial repatriation fee of $4900. The family, however, maintains the amount is not enough, and should secure her transportation all the way back to Batangas, not just Manila. Burial fee money has also not been offered by the Philippine Consulate.

Philippine Forum maintains such financial, legal, and other forms of assistance should be standardized by policy by the Philippine government, and not offered, as in Garcia’s case, on a case-to-case basis. It pledges to step up the campaign to achieve this.

“We are honored to have Fely’s sons come to New York City to pay their respects to their mother and bring her home for a proper burial, despite the ongoing campaign for justice and for fulfillment of the family’s wishes. They, along with their mother, have been further victimized by a criminally-negligent Philippine government with an aggressive but inhumane labor export policy void of compassion, dignity, and basic human services,” states Rico Foz, Executive Vice President of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, a nationwide network of Filipino-American organizations present in 23 cities of which Philippine Forum is a founding member.

Members of Garcia’s family in the Philippines continue to doubt the New York Police Department’s conclusion that Garcia committed suicide.

The Greenwich Village Funeral Home is located on 199 Bleecker Street between 6th Ave and McDougal, phone: 212-674-8055. For train directions, take A, C, E, F, V to West 4th St Walk South on 6th Ave, left on Bleecker or on bus take M4 to West 4th St.

Philippine Forum-KABALIKAT has also been raising community funds to help alleviate the family’s financial burden. To make a donation to the Justice for Fely Campaign, make checks to Philippine Forum, write Justice for Fely on the memo, and mail to Philippine Forum at 54-05 Seabury Street, Elmhurst, New York 11373.

To sign the Justice for Fely Garcia online petition, visit

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