Press Release
August 18, 2009

Villar Acts Against Use of Filipinos as 'Drug Mules'
Rescued OFWs from Drug Syndicates; Filed Senate Resolution 1192

Nacionalista Party President Senator Manny Villar slams the prevalent incidents of Filipinos being used 'drug mules' all over the world. Villar recently filed Senate Resolution (SRN) 1192 directing the Committee on Public Order and Illegal Drugs to conduct an investigation into the increasing number of Filipino drug mules which is heavily damaging the country's reputation abroad.

"The situation is worsening and the number of Filipinos, particularly OFWs, being victimized by drug syndicates is significantly increasing. The Philippines is fast gaining a negative reputation for it. More than that, many our fellow Filipinos' lives are put on the line," said Villar.

Based from the United Nations' office on Drug And Crime 2009 World Drug Report, the Philippines ranks fifth in metamphetamine seizures from 1998 to 2007. The Blas Ople Center cited that there are now more than 500 drug cases involving Filipinos in different parts of the world, majority in China.

"My office in fact just rescued an OFW, Nilfa Dumalagan, who was about to do her first 'drug mule' assignment. She went on a tourist visa to Malaysia where she met and was recruited by a Nigerian married to a Filipina to get a package from Peru. Thankfully, she got out of the syndicate in time and is now back in the Philippines," said Villar. The Nigerian drug cartels is in fact one of the biggest and most notorious, according to reports.

Villar cited in his Senate resolution data from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) report that in 2008 alone, 111 Filipinos were arrested for drug-related offenses in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau. This, the DFA said, was a 594-percent increase from the 16 arrested in 2007. Of those arrested in 2007 and 2008, 22 are facing death sentence, 12 have gotten life, while 11 have been made to serve 15-16 years prison terms.

Majority of the arrests had stemmed from narcotic drugs being found in the suspects' luggage supposedly given to them by people they met in a transit country--usually Thailand, Malaysia, Nepal, Laos and Vietnam. The members of foreign drug rings give Filipino mules tickets and pocket money to travel to Hong Kong or to Mainland China and promise to pay the carriers upon delivery of the drugs to their destination.

According to Villar, "There should be immediate and definite actions from the government to crack down these drug syndicates that lure Filipinos to work as drug mules. OFWs should be more careful and be forewarned about the modus operandi the people involved in these syndicates. They should not get carried away by enticing job offers however desperate they may be as these may endanger their lives."

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