MANILA — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has assured that it will be one of the government agencies that will provide the necessary assistance, particularly scholarship programs, for the two children of Mary Jane Veloso so that their studies will not be hampered.
According to DSWD Secretary Corazon J. Soliman, President Benigno S. Aquino III has instructed her to link with the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to ensure that the studies of Veloso’s two sons — aged six and 12 — will continue by giving them scholarships until college.
“President Aquino has instructed me to coordinate with DepEd and CHED to guarantee that the studies of the children of Mary Jane (Veloso) will not be obstructed,” Secretary Soliman said, adding it will be a part of the social service intervention of DSWD.
The 30-year-old Mary Jane Veloso, who was given an llth-hour stay of execution for drug trafficking in Indonesia this week, was born from a typical poor family in Barangay Caudillo, Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija.
As the youngest of five children of Cesar and Celia Veloso, she resorted to picking plastics and other recyclable materials when she was just a growing girl.
She only reached first year high school, got married early and separated, becoming a solo-parent left with two children — Mark Daniel and Mark Darren.
In her desire to improve the lives of her family and provide for the education of her children, Veloso went to Dubai in 2009 to work as a household service worker.
In 2010, she returned to the Philippines before her two-year contract ended because her employer tried to rape her, according to her family.
She was later hired to work as a maid in Indonesia by a recruiter identified as Cristina Sergio, whom the family accused of conniving with an international drug ring to hide heroin in her baggage.
She was arrested for bringing 2.6 kilograms of heroin to Indonesia from Malaysia five years ago, convicted by the Indonesian court and ordered to be executed through a firing squad.
The execution was halted at the llth hour on Wednesday as the request for a temporary reprieve was granted because Veloso allegedly was just a victim of a human trafficking syndicate.
According to Secretary Soliman, the DSWD is among the agencies of the government backing out the fight against human trafficking syndicates enticing the poor and vulnerable victims to be drug mules because of the tempting promise of money.
“Makikipag-trabaho tayo para puksain ang droga — iyon ang pinaka-common agenda. Actually, these drug lords — the human traffickers who use victims as mules — should be the ones put to jail. The drug menace should be addressed and we could do that if we all work together. So, para ho sa mga kabataang babae at lalaki, huwag kayong pumayag na maging drug mule para di ninyo sapitin ang nangyari kay Mary Jane at sa ibang mga kababayan natin na nahatulan ng kamatayan,” the DSWD chief stressed.