TV broadcaster Erwin Tulfo is now being accused of reporting fake news about New Zealand accepting Filipino students who graduated from the K-12 program by the Philippine government. In fact, even Philippine ambassador to New Zealand Jesus Domingo called it as “irresponsible” reporting. But was Erwin Tulfo’s report really fake news?
Last March, Erwin Tulfo visited New Zealand and made a report about K-12 graduates now can study in the country and soon can have a better life. In his report via PTV-4, Tulfo said Filipino students can easily finish a college degree in New Zealand because it only takes 3 years, unlike in the Philippines where college courses are taken in 4 years.
Tulfo also mentioned Pinoycare Visa Center, which according to him has long ties with schools in New Zealand. The TV broadcaster then interviewed representatives of some schools in the country, saying good things about Pinoycare Visa Center. Niña Mabatid, President and CEO of Pinoycare Visa Center also spoke about the good opportunity.
“Ang kagandahan pa raw, pwde na ring mag migrate ang kanilang buong pamilya kahit nag-aaral pa lang sila sa New Zealand.” (The supposedly good thing is, students can already bring their families in New Zealand even while they are still studying.)” Erwin Tulfo said. Apparently, Nina Mabatid also said a similar statement about this matter.
“Pwede din nilang dalhin yung pamilya nila on the day of their departure and they can enjoy all the benefits kahit naka student visa lang sila. (They can also bring their families here [in New Zealand] on the day of their departure and they can enjoy all the benefits even if they are only holding student visas.” Mabatid said on the interview.
As a proof that Filipinos who graduated college in New Zealand are now living a better life, Erwin Tulfo interviewed some of them. But as you can clearly hear, he emphasized that K-12 graduates planning to study at New Zealand is not an easy path, and that it needs some sacrifices before one can enjoy a greener pasture in the country
Recently, a certain Emmanuel Pelayo created a petition at Change.org entitled “Stop promoting student trafficking,” where he claimed that private educational tech institutes and consultancy firms have been profiteering from overseas students, particularly Filipino students aiming to study at New Zealand, and mentioned Erwin Tulfo’s report.
“He emphasized that with this pathway, a student can work 20hrs per week (which is true), and may be able to bring their families to live here (not really 100% true). Erwin Tulfo reported on this showing only 5% truth.” Pelayo wrote on his petition, noting that it is very expensive to study in New Zealand, and there is really no guaranteed jobs afterwards.
“These students undergo courses that mostly are irrelevant to their skills and qualifications. For example, nurses are advised to take up a year’s course of Healthcare Management. So much wasted time and money for something that is so useless.” He added, noting that Erwin Tulfo should correct his news story to avoid misinformation.
Meanwhile, in a news report at Radio New Zealand on Wednesday, May 9, Ambassador Jesus Domingo was quoted saying that [Filipino] migrants were coming to New Zealand under false hope and were being left sorely disappointed. Domingo said that such unethical activities are likely to be called as “student trafficking.”
“On many occasions it is that an advisor or an agency will use the slogan ‘study-work-live’ giving the impression that you need to go through an agent in order to obtain a student visa. You do not need to go through an agent to obtain a student visa.” Domingo said, adding that success in this scheme is only possible in very limited circumstances.
So, is Pinoycare Visa Center a scam? No, it is a legit visa consultancy firm, and registered at SEC. However, based on the data of Immigration New Zealand (INZ), it is considered as one of the worst-performing education tourism agents for Filipino migrants, and had only 40-percent visa approval rate as of January 2018.
Now, did Mr. Erwin Tulfo reported a fake news? Did Pinoycare Visa Center paid him huge amount of money to promote their business? First, Mr. Tulfo mentioned “daw,’ (“According to” in English) which means he just relayed a statement by Nina Mabatid. Second, he emphasized that this is NOT an easy path. Nevertheless, his report surely lacks information.