Senator Tito Sotto III yesterday warned Filipino women employed in China against a West African syndicate that prey on those whose visas are expiring, and asked them not to allow themselves to be used as drug couriers.
Flory May Talaban, 28, of Bacolod City has been meted a life sentence and is now detained at the Ngam Wong Wan Central Women’s Institution in Bangkok, Thailand, for an unspecified crime.
She is a Political Science graduate of the University of St. La Salle, Bacolod. She flew to China in 2005 together with Chona Jomilla to teach at Becton International University in Guangzho, China.
Talaban’s parents are asking government officials to seek her release and to determine the reasons for her imprisonment.
Sotto, however, said that once the Overseas Filipino Workers are abroad and have violated a law there, usually it is the Philippine Embassy that can help them out.
“But on the issue of illegal drugs, there used to be a policy of government that they will not help an OFW if he/she is involved in drugs or drug trafficking. I think the Dangerous Drugs Board will recommend the same to the President and I believe President Benigno Aquino III will heed their advise,” he said.
Sotto said that out of the 200 OFW’s jailed in China, about 195 are female.
He said the modus operandi of this West African syndicate is to find out who are those Filipina workers or OFW’s whose visas are expiring and offer them renewal of their visas, board and lodging, and provide them round trip fares and additional pocket money ranging from $1,500-$5,000.
Incidentally, the problem is that China is one of those rare countries where one can renew his/her visa in any other country where there is a Chinese Embassy other than their port of origin, Sotto said.
“I advise OFW’s not to indulge or fall prey to these syndicates to be used as drug couriers,” he said.
Sotto said they may amass huge money but they will be jailed. Some are even executed because there is a death penalty in other countries like China, he said.*CGS