(Feature) DSWD chief to the poor: Do not be lured with promises of money for insecure future

May 2, 2015 11:11 am 

By Leilani S. Junio

MANILA, May 1 (PNA) — In the wake of the 11th-hour stay of the execution of Mary Jane Veloso for drug trafficking in Indonesia this week, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon J. Soliman is advising the public, particularly the vulnerable sector of the poor, to be watchful and careful of some unscrupulous people who may use them in their illicit work.

According to Secretary Soliman, sometimes the “unmindful and innocent” Filipinos who are poor are often the victims of some people who use the poor for their "other hidden purpose or agenda."

She particularly advised the young men and women desiring to work overseas to check carefully with the proper agencies of the Department of Labor and Employment, particularly the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), before entering in foreign job contracts to avoid being victims of illegal recruiters or human traffickers and ending as unsuspecting "drug courier" like the unfortunate Mary Jane Veloso.

The POEA is the government agency which is responsible for optimizing the benefits of the country’s overseas employment program.

This agency was created in 1982 through Executive Order 797 to promote and to monitor the overseas employment of Filipino workers.

In 1987, through Executive Order 247, POEA was reorganized to include the following expanded functions:To respond to changing markets and economic condition; and to strengthen the workers protection and regulatory components of the overseas employment program.

POEA is also the lead government agency tasked to monitor and supervise all recruitment agencies in the Philippines.

The DSWD chief said that precautionary measures must continue even if a worker is already set to leave for his or her overseas work, and these include rejecting any form of request for favor from anybody like carrying a baggage with unknown contents.

According to her, the poor must take note of the fact that the baggage that maybe handed over to an innocent victim may contain harmful materials like illegal drugs or heroine.

“I appeal to the vulnerable sectors, particularly those who are in the poverty threshold, to refuse to accept such requests. Hindi n'yo po dapat tanggapin ang ganyang klaseng pagpapadala (referring to drugs/heroine). At huwag po kayong matukso sa pangakong pera,” Soliman said in an interview with the Philippines News Agency.

She added it was saddening that one factor why some people like Mary Jane Veloso faced such case was due to the reason that they opted to leave the country to work abroad in the desire for bigger income which is being promised by some syndicates.

“It is sad to note that the promise of money is something that lures them, so some of them have faced the consequence of death (referring to some OFWs who were persecuted in China),” Soliman said.

She advised the poor who are looking for economic opportunities abroad to avoid replicating the case of Mary Jane Veloso, who was convicted by the Indonesian court in a drug trafficking case and was sentenced to death via firing squad.

Fortunately, with combined efforts and prayers, the requests of the Philippine government and other supporting groups to Indonesian President Joko Widodo were heeded which led to the temporary suspension of the execution.

“Like what Mary Jane said, her fellow poor women should not be tempted to leave the country, especially if their recruiter is doubtful or offering no security at all or could lead them to risks such as becoming victims of human trafficking. There are still opportunities to earn here in the country,” Secretary Soliman said.

She also said that the DSWD, through its poverty alleviation program of Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), is offering poor beneficiaries with PhP10,000 capital assistance for the livelihood undertaking that they want to engage in as a way to encourage them to not consider working abroad, especially if the means is illegal.

She noted that what can be earned overseas can also be generated in the country, especially if the poor workers will just exercise their determination in enhancing their productivity skills and get the right support and training.

She said that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) are converging with the DSWD along with other private partners in terms of capacitating the poor to engage in livelihood opportunities within the country. (PNA)

SCS/LSJ

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