The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) warned the public anew against agreeing to serve as drug couriers abroad.
PDEA Director General Undersecretary Arturo Cacdac, Jr. again issued the warning in response to news about the alarming rate of Filipinos arrested for drug trafficking in Guangzhou, China.
“As of May 2014, there are 220 Filipinos (59 males, 161 females) who are presently detained in China for drug-smuggling offenses,” Cacdac said.
“Almost half of them were incarcerated in the province of Guangzhou alone, and sentenced to death with two-year reprieve, life imprisonment, fixed-term imprisonment and those with pending drug-related cases or under investigation,” he said.
Meanwhile, Vice President Jejomar Binay issued a similar call, urging Filipinos to refrain from accepting requests from strangers to carry luggages and shun enticements from drug syndicates to carry illegal drugs to another country.
“We should be vigilant and avoid accepting parcels from strangers so as not to become unwitting couriers for drug syndicate,” Binay added.
“But more importantly don’t be swayed by offers of money from drug syndicates. Buhay ninyo ang itinataya ninyo [you are putting at risk your own lives],” he added.
Cacdac, on the other hand, expressed hope that Task Force Drug Courier member agencies such as the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Labor and Employment, Bureau of Immigration, Bureau of Customs, National Bureau of Investigation, Philippine Information Agency, Manila International Airport Authority, and Philippine Tourism Authority will succeed in protecting Filipinos from drug syndicates.
“Do not accept offers to become drug mules even if they are very tempting. Be vigilant of the modus operandi of drug syndicates. Before you know it, you are already caught in the web of drug trafficking activities,” he said, adding that mere possession and transportation of illegal drugs is punishable in foreign countries, especially in China, where the penalty for violations of their anti-drug law is harsh.