For the first time, Japan-based Filipino caregivers who have trained intensively to obtain a license for the practice officially launched the group Licensed Filipino Caregivers Association in Japan (LFCAJ) in a festive affair July 23 at the Theater 1010, Marui Building near Kitasenju Station in Adachi-ku, Tokyo. Aimed at kickstarting a regular forum for the caregivers, dispatching companies and nursing facility operators to exchange information on employment opportunities, as well as creating a force to propel the acceptance of Filipino caregivers to Japan under the bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the event was attended by an even number of Filipinos and Japanese estimated at more than 200.
A highlight of the event was the induction of officers, which was officiated by Labor Attache Reydeluz Conferido. Among those who were installed into office were Hermie Shinozawa, president; Jane Tajima, vice president; Cecilia Cruz, secretary; Delia Takizawa, treasurer; Loren Baltazar, auditor; Glenda Kamei, Merlyn Morita and Mimi Takamatsu, public relations officers (PRO); Ma. Theresa Sagawa, Juliet Komatsu, Juliet Origasa, Ai Furuya and Ai Kido, as members of the council group. A portion of the program was devoted to members’ answering of questions regarding their experiences and expectations at the workplace, some of whom obliged to reply in Japanese.
In her keynote message, LFCAJ president Hermie Shinozawa provided a broad outline of the general concerns and expectations of the fledgling organization. Satoki Nakamura, freelance journalist and book author in health care and welfare field, expounded on the implications of the newly revised Nursing Care Insurance system and the ongoing transition from group to individualized nursing care system in Japan. Shizue Shimura, manager of a health care facility and a nursing care consultant, expressed appreciation at the abundance of the “heart” of Filipino caregivers, a valued quality that she bemoans their Japanese counterparts are losing.
During the event itself, six new members registered to join the organization as follows: Penafrascia Salvacion C. Oishi, from Sagamihara City; Ariessa Maezono Bantugon, from Saitama-ken Kawaguchi City; Mylene T. Genda, from Tokyo-to Koto-ku; Charlyn B. Rollon, from Minato-ku, Tokyo; Gertrudes, from Isehara Shi, Kanagawa; and Takahashi Edna, from Taito-ku, Tokyo.
The latter half of the afternoon was an entertainment bash, lined up with lively dance and vocal numbers from members and guest performers. Yolanda, who gained fame as an enka singer but is now repackaged as an Asian diva, warmed up the crowd with a repertoire of pop and enka, while Jaylord Vergara crooned to an exuberant response of the crowd.
Francis Yu, the only Filipino architect licensed by the Japanese government, acted as emcee-cum-interpreter while co-emcee radio announcer Joselin Kobayashi’s spiels kept the afternoon-long program apace.