MANILA — Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle urged overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to be wary and do not easily trust people they hardly know for their protection.
“I have an appeal to make to our fellow Filipinos who are planning to work abroad: Do not just accept parcels or bags from people, especially [from] those you do not know,” he said in an article posted on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) news website.
He issued the appeal to remind Filipinos not to fall victims to syndicates just like what happened to30-year old Mary Jane Veloso, who has been sentence to die by firing squad in Indonesia for allegedly possessing 2.6 kilos of heroin in 2010.
Tagle advised the OFWs to say no to any persons, whether casual acquaintances or total strangers, who request them to carry something for them.
“If you have no idea what is inside that bag, you will be the one responsible because it is in your possession. If the content turns out to be illegal, you might be arrested for it,” said the cardinal.
With this, the head of the Archdiocese of Manila asked the Indonesian government that Veloso, who is a single mother from Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija and other OFWs who violated their law to afford them proper hearing which they deserve.
“I appeal that Mary Jane Veloso be given due process. While I do respect the laws of other other countries. I appeal on behalf of all people who will be arrested, that their rights be respected and that due process be extended to them,” Tagle added.
At the same time, the cardinal addressed those who are involved in drug trade not to exploit unsuspecting OFWs in their illicit activities who often end up paying for the crimes of others.