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PIA Press Release
2008/08/19

OFWs warned vs drug "mules; asked to refrain from accommodating others' baggages

By Jessie R. Valdez

San Fernando City, La Union (19 August) -- In a bid to halt drug "mules" or couriers among Filipinos, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Dionisio Santiago has warned OFWs not to accommodate requests to bring baggage on behalf of others or strangers since they may unwittingly end up as drug couriers and face criminal charges.

To cut this modus operandi and reduce the incidence of drug "mules", PDEA has intensified its anti-illegal drugs campaign as well as reactivated its Human Trafficking Desk since drug "mules" according to Santiago is essentially a human trafficking case where Filipinos were involved then later employed to smuggle in illegal drugs to foreign countries.

Other steps undertaken by PDEA to solve this drug "mules" include the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Bureau of Immigration (BI) and its concerned foreign counterparts to strengthen their cooperative efforts to mitigate the problem as well as closely coordinating with China on the case of several Filipinos who are behind bars for drug smuggling charges.

The anti-drugs agency has also issued several travel advisories warning OFWs to refrain from such requests of bringing home others' packages/baggages to avoid drug "mules" and other related cases.

Due to the drug smuggling case which was committed outside the borders of the Philippines, the PDEA chief sent a formal communiqué to the BI requesting a list of Nigerian nationals coming in or currently residing in the country to monitor their activities.

Discussed ways and means to cut supply of illegal drugs and drug "mules" during the 7th Law Enforcement Pillar meeting of the ASEAN and China ACCORD last July 17-18 which was presided by Santiago and during the International Drug Enforcement Conference (IDEC) held in Turkey last month. (PIA La Union) [top]

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