The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration will intensify its anti-drug courier program campaign in its effort to protect the welfare of Overseas Filipino Workers, particularly those from Region 6, who are working abroad, a government press release said.
Director Samuel Madrid of the OWWA 6 said that even while they are conducting a regular Pre-departure Orientation Seminar, they will intensify the campaign following the plight of three Filipino overseas workers who have been sentenced to death for their involvement in the illegal trade in China.
He said that PDOs are required for OFWs, to cope with the situation abroad, and more importantly to prevent the possibility of OFWs being recruited illegally.
“The PDOs at the OWWA office here is held every Monday and Thursday, and we have an average of 100 participants weekly,” Madrid said.
He said that the OWWA, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Department of Foreign Affairs, Philippine Overseas Employment Agency, and the Philippine Information Agency will join for an information campaign on the drug courier concern.
Based on PDEA records on the drug courier problem, about 689 recorded drug cases were recorded as of January 2011, the press release said.
Of the 689 recorded cases, 431 are females, while 258 are males.
The PDEA record also showed that 78 are currently facing death in China, and of this figure, six are facing death with no reprieve, while 72 are sentenced to death with a 2-year reprieve.
Some of the modus operandi of the syndicates in recruiting their mules include befriending a potential recruit; marry a potential recruit; meeting through casual acquaintance; and meet through internet.
The syndicates offer $200 for every successful transaction and provide plane tickets for the drug courier, the press release said.
With the gravity of the drug courier problem, a Task Force Drug Courier was created on February 8, 2010 by virtue of Administrative Order 279, the press release said.
The task force is chaired by the PDEA and co-chaired by the DFA with PIA, DOLE, BI, BOC, PTA, OP-ES, DOJ, CHED, NBI, PNP-AvseGroup, and MIAA, it added.*