POEA ready to help OFWs victimized by ‘tanim-bala’
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is ready to render assistance to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who may be victims of the bullet-planting or “tanim-bala” scheme at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
In an advisory released on Friday, the POEA said it would offer assistance to OFWs nabbed at Naia for bullet-related incidents.
If an OFW is set for questioning by airport authorities for possession of a bullet, the POEA is prepared to provide legal assistance, on-the-spot advice, and open communication lines with immediate family, friends, recruitment agencies, or legal counsel.
“Do not carry such items either in checked-in or carry-on luggage. Please secure your bags and suitcases with locks, and make sure they are sealed shut. Please be vigilant and watch over your belongings at all times,” POEA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said in a signed advisory.
Cacdac advised OFWs that Republic Act No. 10591 penalized unlawful possession of ammunition, defined as a “complete unfixed unit consisting of a bullet, gunpowder, cartridge case and primer or loaded shell for use in any firearm.”
The official said the POEA would immediately advise the International Labor Affairs Bureau of the Department of Labor and Employment of any OFW arrested at Naia, which in turn would
“communicate with the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in the concerned OFW’s host country or destination, for purposes of advising the foreign principal or employer about the situation.”
“The foreign principal or employer shall be requested to give the OFW reasonable time to clear his or her name with the Philippine authorities,” he said.
Cacdac directed Philippine recruitment agencies to “continuously monitor the situation of their workers as they go through departure formalities at the airport.”
“Should any of their workers encounter problems, they shall likewise extend possible assistance and undertake full cooperation with the DOLE, POEA, and [Overseas Workers Welfare Administration],” he said.
The POEA may also be reached via hotline numbers +63 2 722 1144 and +63 2 722 1155 or through its email address email@example.com.
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